For millennia, live debate has been used as a way of honing logic and creating consensus. Until recently, however, there has been a major drawback of live debate: All participants have had to be in the same place at the same time. With the advent and spread of video conferencing, though, that is changing.
Across the globe, schools and governments are using the technology as a way to foster debate across towns, time zones and even continents.
At the University of Malta, for example, students will get an opportunity to view - and participate in - a live debate of foreign policy issues in the 2012 U.S. presidential race. According to The Times of Malta, the use of online conferencing will allow the students to watch distant experts - Kenneth Weinstein, president and CEO of the Hudson Institute, and Lawrence Korb, senior advisor to the Center for Defense Information - as they discuss and debate issues in real time.
The new technology can also encourage lively debate among companies and their shareholders. By using video conferencing as a way to hold annual shareholder meeting, businesses can discuss important topics with their shareholders without having to gather in the same location, making them less complicated and more convenient.