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Argument Essay Topics

  1. Feb 4, 2015 #1
    Hello all! My class is doing a an argument essay that requires students to choose a topic that is specific and has two sides. My problem is that I cant seem to find a topic that fits this criteria. I was hoping to find a topic in technology. One topic I really wanted to research was artificial intelligence. Can some one help me make this topic more "specific?" And is this even a good topic at all?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 4, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

  4. Feb 4, 2015 #3
    That was exactly what I was thinking. But, is it not specific enough as a topic for an argument essay?
  5. Feb 4, 2015 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Are you asking is it too specific? or not specific enough?

    I think it has depth and not too much breadth to be the right kind of topic to talk about.

    You could mention some old movies where some AI takes over like:
    - 2001 A Space Odyssey,
    - The Invisible Boy
    - or the Colossus: The Forbin Project,

    You could mention the fear that people picked up from these movies and the reality of AI today...

    Then there's the underpinnings of AI , the difficulty in getting a computer to think like a person...
  6. Feb 4, 2015 #5
    Basically, is artificial intelligence a topic that is too wide and not specific enough? It also should be controversial. I am just wondering as to whether I will find research for this topic.
  7. Feb 4, 2015 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    Read the two news articles I posted earlier and decide. I think it's controversial enough especially now when people irrationally reject science at some basic level based on the fear induced from the unknown like AI.
  8. Feb 6, 2015 #7


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    One issue you might have with AI is that it is completely speculative at this stage, neither side of the debate would be able to draw on any examples or precedents to back up their case. You might have better luck with a biosciences topic, for instance: this week in the UK our government became the first to approve the creation of "three parent babies". The technique is designed to eliminate mitochondrial diseases by transplanting the nucleus of an egg cell into a donor cell with healthy mitochondria. The result is a child with 0.1% of their DNA (the mitochondrial DNA) from a third parent.

    It's controversial amongst a few different groups which provides diversity of arguments. The church doesn't like it for obvious religious reasons but beyond that there are groups concerned that this is a thin end of the wedge when it comes to genetic modification of children and (the best anti-argument IMO) there are scientists concerned that we don't know enough about the long term effects of this to allow it for humans at this stage.

    There are plenty of examples like this from GMO crops to synthetic bacteria that are real world technologies with legitimate arguments.
  9. Feb 13, 2015 #8
    I have nothing to add to this conversation other than THAT IS INCREDIBLE.
  10. Feb 13, 2015 #9


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    2017 Award

    There are plenty of interesting arguments in artificial intelligence that would be suitable for your essay. For example, you could look at the ethics of armed drones in warfare. Should computer programs be allowed to choose targets and kill autonomously? Or you could examine self-driving cars. How should liability issues be handled in the case of crashes? Should human-driven and autonomously driven cars co-exist on the road?
  11. Feb 16, 2015 #10
    Not topic-relevant, but a response I feel obligated to make. Maybe it will give OP some ideas.

    Solution: A 'black box' that records all programmatic data that the autopilot outputs, as well as external recordings of the last N amount of hours. Idiotic legislature regulating the use of dash-cams citing privacy concerns need to be nuked. Dash-cams are illegal in California, except for those which only record for 30 seconds beginning when a 'traumatic or sudden vehicular incident' is detected. Obviously, in this case you would not be able to determine who was at fault.

    To make it clear: Insurance companies will have technical people / programmers on hand to handle this case and interpret the data, if necessary. If not, one can just look at the 360-degree high-res recordings to see who was at fault.
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