270 episodes

America feels divided. From the most salient questions about our national identity and place in the world, to fundamental concerns about technology, religion, the economy, and public policy, Intelligence Squared U.S. is here to help. A respite from polarized discussions, we bring together the smartest minds to debate and dissect issues in depth, restoring civility and bringing intelligence to the public square in the process.

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates IQ2US Debates

    • Education
    • 4.6 • 1.9K Ratings

America feels divided. From the most salient questions about our national identity and place in the world, to fundamental concerns about technology, religion, the economy, and public policy, Intelligence Squared U.S. is here to help. A respite from polarized discussions, we bring together the smartest minds to debate and dissect issues in depth, restoring civility and bringing intelligence to the public square in the process.

    Is Amazon Good for Small Business?

    Is Amazon Good for Small Business?

    Amazon has come a long way since online book sales. In fact, when it comes to revenue, Jeff Bezos’ creation is the world’s biggest internet-based company. But what makes the "everything store" so ubiquitous? In large part, it’s the small and medium-sized businesses that use the platform to sell their goods. This year, more than 1.9 million of these businesses participated in its marketplace, which accounted for some 60 percent of Amazon's retail sales. But was it ultimately good for them? In the midst of this historic transition in shopping, that's our debate: Is Amazon good for small business? 
    Debating in favor of the motion is Mark Jamison, economist at the American Enterprise Institute, with Kunal Chopra, tech executive and former Amazon GM. Arguing against the motion is Rana Foroohar, global business columnist at the Financial Times and author of “Don’t Be Evil”, with co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Stacy Mitchell. Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates. 
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    • 53 min
    Long Live The British Monarchy?

    Long Live The British Monarchy?

    For nearly three-quarters of a century, Queen Elizabeth II sat on high as Britain’s monarch. With her death, however, new momentum is building that questions the future of the British Crown. Several former British colonies, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Jamaica, have debated severing ties, while Republican campaigners in Britain now see opportunity to reassess what it means to have a monarchy, without offending a popular queen. Against that backdrop, we debate the longevity of the British monarchy. 
    Arguing "NO" is Graham Smith, who heads the British anti-monarchy pressure group Republic. Arguing "YES," is Phillip Blond, English political philosopher and director of the ResPublica think tank. Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates. 
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    • 53 min
    Should We Search for Extraterrestrial Life?

    Should We Search for Extraterrestrial Life?

    For decades, scientists around the world have dedicated their lives — and research dollars — to one question: Is there anyone else out there? In the early 1970s, NASA joined the hunt with its own program to search for extraterrestrial life, or SETI for short. When that was defunded by Congress, private efforts took hold. But just what have decades of SETI brought us? And how should we approach the search in those to come? For SETI’s supporters, finding other intelligent life in the cosmos is a fundamentally human endeavor. It probes our understanding of the cosmos, what it means to live and survive on Earth and beyond, and just where our species fits into the greater universe. But others warn that SETI is a distraction from other scientific endeavors that, at best, diverts critical resources and, at worst, will open a can of worms humanity isn’t ready to deal with. Just what would happen if we actually find other beings? Are we mature enough as a society to respond? In this episode, we ask the essential extraterrestrial question: to search or not to search?  
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    • 54 min
    Will AI Do More Harm Than Good?

    Will AI Do More Harm Than Good?

    Is it true that artificial intelligence will do more harm than good? Proponents say it will help us solve problems like climate change and world hunger, while eliminating dangerous and mundane jobs. But critics warn that A.I.’s current trajectory is a dangerous one, which will likely concentrate power, reduce jobs, surveil consumers and voters alike, and threaten democracy. What’s more, some people say these conditions are not based on science fiction, but are already in the process of afflicting us, given the number of algorithms we engage with on a daily basis. So, could artificial intelligence be used to help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges and level the playing field, or will it present perils that far outweigh any good it might do?     
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    • 54 min
    Should The SAT Be Erased?

    Should The SAT Be Erased?

    Last year, only 1.5 million high school students took the SAT, down from 2.2 million in the class of 2020. Covid-19 played a big role in the decision among many schools not to move forward with at-home testing. But the move sparked even wider discussion about the test itself. Currently, at least 75% of colleges actually don’t require the SAT or ACT. That’s an all-time high, with many schools pledging not to return to it. But is that the right move? Proponents call into question the efficacy and inequity of standardized tests, pointing to high-profile college admission scandals, as well as those leveraging access to resources to net higher scores. They argue a more expansive approach to admissions is better suited in selecting students. Those who defend the SAT, however, say the test presents opportunities for smart under resourced students to get into top schools. Removing such tests could actually make present inequities worse. Additionally, the focus should be on addressing the achievement gap, rather than merely changing the way students are evaluated. Personal essays, GPA, extra curricula, they say, are just as easy to game with financial privilege. So in this context, we ask: Should the SAT be erased? 
     
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    • 53 min
    Is Cancel Culture Toxic?

    Is Cancel Culture Toxic?

    You know the drill. Someone does, or says, something offensive. A public backlash -- typically on Twitter -- ensues. Then come the calls to "cancel" that person, brand, or institution. That usually means the loss of cultural cache, political clout, and often a job or career. While the term "cancelling" has roots in a misogynistic joke, it has come to be one of the most prominent tools of progressive activists. Many see "cancelling" as a modern-day means of holding people to account, calling out injustice, and breaking down ingrained systems of prejudice and exploitation, particularly for the historically marginalized. But others see it differently. They are sounding alarms about the emergence of a new cancel culture where digital mobs police our speech, invade our rights, and even put our physical safety at risk. They argue that cancel culture has created a society ruled by online censorship and eroded our public discourse. Against this backdrop, we ask: Is cancel culture toxic? Featuring Kmele Foster, Garry Kasparov, Erich Hatala Matthes and Karen Attiah. Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates. 
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    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
1.9K Ratings

1.9K Ratings

Guy Gallo ,

Negative Reviews Are Bots

This is the pinnacle of podcasting. If we’re not using this medium to have healthy, fair discussions, then what are we doing here?

Each debate is excellent. If everyone listened to these discussions, the world would simply be a better place.

Brock Fiouris ,

Bring back live debates

Been listening since 2016 and the “Agree to Disagree” series is good, on occasion. However, lately that is the only content provided. It feels disappointing to have an interesting topic without a formal debate, which is what I used to love about IQ2.

The quality of discourse is night and day when comparing the live vs. virtual debates. Please bring back live debates!! Debates on the same topics as recent Agree to Disagree episodes would be good.

nostoc2020 ,

IQ2 failed to discuss the import aspect of Will Artificial Intelligence Do More Harm Than Good?

John does a great job of moderating debates and discussions like agree to disagree, but this episode disappointed me. John asked pertinent questions that the guests sometimes failed to answer, not new. But this conversation was interesting to me almost wholly due to the aspect I thought the resolution described. The possibility AI will do more harm than good at some future date seems very real, if not inevitable. Few expect it in the next 20 years, during which time many good things may be attributed to AI. The resolution, however, did not specify “in the next 20 years”, so why was the dialog limited to that time? When longer range comments about 100, 200 or 400 years hence, it was laughingly dismissed. Many believe AI will eventually usher in the demise of mankind, eventually. Let’s give that some serious thought. Global warming might cause the end of our species, but not in the next 100 years, yet we approach that topic seriously, not as a joke. WWIII could result in mutual destruction of superpowers via nuclear warfare or worse and we give considerable effort and thought to its prevention. It seems to many of us that AI is as great a threat over the next few centuries, if not more.

I suggest another debate or discussion, maybe with Darrell and Daron back to opine: Will humanity be extinct by the year 2400? I suspect AI will receive its due as that one gets underway, not for humoring, though.

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