Driverless Cars, Climate Change, and Trump: Intelligence Squared US’s Biggest Year Yet | Shore Fire Media

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13 December, 2019Print

Driverless Cars, Climate Change, and Trump: Intelligence Squared US's Biggest Year Yet

2019 marked the most successful year yet for nonpartisan debate series Intelligence Squared U.S. Now in their second decade, the nonprofit organization reached more people this year than ever before, hitting record-setting audience numbers on both the show's podcast (downloads up 27% since 2018) and YouTube channel (minutes watched up 41%).

What were those millions of fans coming for? One of the strongest slate of debates to date, with one of the strongest group of debaters. Topics being debated included climate change, the rise of China, driverless cars, Medicare for All, and, yes, President Trump. Debaters included Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, former Senator Jeff Flake...and a robot.

Politico even said the presidential debates should be run more like Intelligence Squared.

In a new bonus podcast, Intelligence Squared U.S. CEO Clea Conner and moderator John Donvan give fans a behind-the-scenes look at how these debates are made. Tune in here:

And catch up on Intelligence Squared U.S.'s entire slate of 2019 debates below, via video and podcast. They're broadly grouped by category: National Politics, Foreign Affairs, Economics, Science, and Tech.


Intelligence Squared U.S. - Complete 2019 Debates

National Politics

"Constitutional Free Speech Principles Can Save Social Media Companies from Themselves"
How should the world’s largest social media companies respond to a pernicious online climate, including hate speech and false content posted by users? For some, the answer is clear: take the fake and offensive content down. But for others, censorship – even by a private company – is dangerous in a time when digital platforms have become the new public square and many Americans cite Facebook and Twitter as their primary news sources. Should First Amendment doctrine govern free speech online?

"Replace Private Insurance With Medicare for All"
“Medicare for All,” or a single-payer system, is being championed by many on the progressive left, with advocates arguing that it will cut costs by reducing overhead and promote overall health by giving all Americans access to preventive health care. Their opponents argue Medicare for All is a political non-starter that would force Americans off employer-based plans, reduce incentives for doctors and providers, increase bureaucracy and inefficiencies in the system, and lead to worse care overall, all the while inflating the already swelled federal deficit. Should private health insurance exist?

"The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump"
Americans are gearing up for the 2020 presidential elections, and Republicans have a choice: Should Donald Trump be their nominee?

Foreign Affairs

"The Recent U.S. Policy Towards China Is Productive"
Are recent U.S. policies tough and focused enough to achieve key economic and strategic objectives? Or will U.S. policy escalate tensions too much, ultimately reducing the chances that the world’s two major powers can achieve a sensible accommodation?

"The Transatlantic Relationship Has Been Irreparably Damaged"
The transatlantic relationship has been a hallmark of the liberal international order for decades and, for many, a source of global peace and stability. But rising populism and inequality, coupled with surprising election outcomes in the United States and Europe, may signal an end to this historic relationship. But others aren’t as worried, saying the relationship has weathered turbulent times before, including the Iraq War. As long as the U.S. and Europe face common threats, including China, election-hacking, and terrorism, they argue, the bond will remain strong.

Staged in our “Unresolved” format, this debate brings together five foreign policy experts to tackle pressing questions on geopolitics in the Middle East, including: Is Trump right on Saudi Arabia? Is the world safer without the JCPOA? And is Turkey an asset to NATO?


"Capitalism Is a Blessing"
Capitalism is often credited for booming economies, fostering human ingenuity, and bolstering free societies where open markets drive human progress. But as concerns over income inequality increase and issues of racial, economic, and social justice become more prominent in the public sphere, the capitalist system faces growing scrutiny.

"Ten Years After the Global Financial Crisis, the System Is Safer"
In 2008, the world witnessed one of the worst financial crises in global history. Now ten years later, has the world learned its lesson?


"Don't Bring Extinct Creatures Back to Life"
What if woolly mammoths could walk the planet once again? De-extinction – or the process of creating an organism which is a member of, or closely resembles, an extinct species – was once a sci-fi fantasy only imaginable in films like “Jurassic Park.” But recent biological and technological breakthroughs indicate that reviving extinct creatures could become a reality. Even if advancements get us there, should we do it?

"Engineering Solar Radiation Is a Crazy Idea"

Climate engineers around the world are developing technologies that aim to reflect sunrays away from Earth. This intervention, they argue, could cool the climate and help address concerns about rising global temperatures.But skeptics say messing with Mother Nature could have unintended consequences. Should climate engineers try to dim the sun?

"Parenting Is Overrated"
What shapes us more: our DNA, or the way we’re raised? The nature-versus-nurture debate has drawn disagreement for thousands of years, and emerging genetic research indicates that the scale may be tipping away from parenting and toward biology; but not all trust the research. Is parenting, and all the time and resources that go into it, overrated?


All Hail the Driverless Car!"
What if the next car you buy or taxi you hail drives itself? Join four leaders in autonomous vehicles for a timely debate on whether society should embrace driverless cars or approach these new, controversial vehicles with caution.

"Europe Has Declared War on American Tech Companies"
Who should control your data online? European regulators have sent shock-waves through the global tech sector with a range of new regulations they say will empower consumers and reign in big companies, like Apple, Google, and Amazon. But are regulatory efforts like the GDPR and Right to Be Forgotten really good for business, or consumers like you?

This debate brings together five foreign policy luminaries to tackle pressing questions, including: Do Chinese military innovations threaten U.S. dominance? Will the next Silicon Valley be in China? And will the U.S. and China both lose the trade war?