Researchers at Dundee University are working with the BBC to help people improve their arguing skills.
Professor Chris Reed and his colleagues from the Centre for Argument Technology (ARG-tech) have signed an agreement to create computer software for a new pilot scheme.
Prof Reed, who previously collaborated with the BBC on the Radio 4 live discussion programme, The Moral Maze, said the ability to argue with confidence was becoming more important than ever in the era of “fake news”.
The ARG-tech team worked with engineers in Australia, Poland, Germany, the UK, USA, Brazil and Argentina to analyse the global debate on abortion for a recent episode of the show.
The data was used to work out how arguments were made on both sides of the issue.
A similar exercise will be carried out during a BBC Two show, Abortion on Trial, on Monday October 16.
The same underlying data is now being used to support a Dundee-developed app called ‘Test Your Argument‘, which enables users to access content from the debate and learn how to build better arguments themselves.
Another piece of technology being developed by the ARG-tech team is an app that allows people to take on the role of The Moral Maze chairman Michael Buerk and recreate their own debates using content from the BBC iPlayer.
Prof Reed said: “We’re interested in models of argument, debate and disagreement and The Moral Maze is a fantastic partner for us in that regard as it is the gold standard of debate.
“In an era of fake news and of debates increasingly happening in echo chambers of like-minded groups, it is vital that people have the skills to back up reason and facts in arguments.”