Humanity now finds itself faced with highly complex challenges – ranging from climate change and the spread of disease to product development and scientific collaborations - that require effective decision making with large diverse communities that are distributed in time and space. While social computing tools (e.g. web forums, wikis, email, instant messaging, media sharing sites, social networking, and so on) have created unprecedented opportunities for connecting and sharing on a massive scale, they still fare poorly when applied to decision making with complex controversial problems. Internet-mediated discussions are instead all-to-often characterized by very poor signal-to-noise ratios, widely varying quality, spotty coverage, scattered content, and other serious weaknesses.
This talk will describe two interconnected projects aimed at addressing these important challenges:
1) the Deliberatorium: a large-scale argumentation approach designed to help groups quickly enumerate the space of possible solutions
2) nonlinear negotiation: protocols designed to help stakeholders find win-win solutions from within such large solution spaces
I will describe the underlying concepts for these projects, the results of our evaluations to date, and some promising directions for future work.