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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.
 
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.
 
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Processed food is bad for you, right? Well, there’s more to this story. As new technologies create foods that can’t be made in home kitchens, such as plant-based meats and dairy products made with plant proteins, the question of whether we should all be consuming more highly processed foods is up for debate. Advocates say a substantial increase in …
 
Facing growing discontent over the rising cost of higher education, many prominent Democrats – and some Republicans – are calling on Washington to cancel the approximately $1.6 trillion Americans currently owe in student loan debt. Supporters see debt forgiveness as a necessary step to safeguarding the nation’s financial future and combating inequa…
 
As punishment for the war, most of Russia’s energy imports to Europe will be banned by the end of the year. But is that smart policy? Those who argue “yes” say Russia must be punished for its actions. Those who argue “no” say isolating the Kremlin to this extent is a dangerous gamble, which could undermine Europe’s economies, push Russia further to…
 
The Fed recently announced aggressive interest rate hikes and is signaling more to come. Its goal? To stabilize the economy amid surging inflation (reaching rates not seen in some 40 years) and lingering supply chain disruptions and shortages. But can the Fed actually manage a so-called "soft landing"? Arguing "yes" is Dean Baker. Arguing "no" is Y…
 
Nine justices hold tremendous power. Advocates on the left see a Supreme Court out of touch with the electorate, obstructed by partisan interests, and rendered illegitimate by years of controversial appointments. But those opposed believe dramatically changing one of the three core pillars of American government would undermine the court’s legitima…
 
The dangers of climate change are “no longer over the horizon.” Humanity may soon pass the “point of no return.” These are the phrases U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used to describe what he called an “utterly inadequate” global response to rising temperatures. But if we were to decisively act, and restructure our global economy with the c…
 
What's it take to debate like a champion? How can you engage so that people will listen? How can you listen actively, and respond in good faith? A mission critical program for listeners of Intelligence Squared, we sit down with Bo to examine debate through the lens of education, politics, and the future of democracy. Considered one of the most reco…
 
Psychedelics, in medical terms, is an inexact category of drugs that affect perceptions and cognition. Their proponents say 1960s-era associations have undermined exciting research in the field of neuroscience. Psychedelics should be made much more widely available, they contend, to treat a range of mental and emotional issues, as well as to ascert…
 
Tesla vehicle sales are, well … electric. The company posted $5.5 billion in 2021 profits, roughly six times its previous year earnings. Globally, the electric car industry is anything but static, soaring to 7 million units in 2021. EV advocates argue that while the technology and resources aren’t perfect, they are ultimately better for the environ…
 
In a modern-day battle of David and Goliath on Wall Street, thousands of amateur retail investors banded together to bid up stocks in a handful of failing companies, most notably the nostalgic video game hub known as GameStop. Within days, the renegade traders sent stocks soaring and dealt heavy blows to hedge funds and other traditional profession…
 
The Supreme Court is poised to make a decision so controversial that even a leaked draft majority opinion can send shockwaves across the nation. In 98-pages, Justice Alito decried Roe v. Wade as “egregiously wrong from the start," declared no right to abortion can be found in the Constitution, and sent abortion laws back to the states — about half …
 
The calls for nuclear are growing louder. The Biden administration recently announced that it was putting $6 billion toward saving distressed nuclear power plants from closure, considering them carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels. Elon Musk doubled down, not only calling for an expansion of nuclear energy, but even offering to eat food grown ne…
 
The hallmark of a productive debate is not persuasion, but insight. So says Adam Grant in this wide-ranging conversation with John Donvan and Intelligence Squared CEO Clea Conner. A good argument is not only about convincing, Grant explains, but also to learn. In his new book, Think Again, Grant explores a set of cognitive skills that might matter …
 
New York. Los Angeles. Boston. San Francisco. With mega populations, these urban hubs have long reigned as the nation's economic, social, and cultural capitals. But big cities have also been the hardest hit by the pandemic. Even more, the pandemic has brought economic and social inequality into sharp focus for the nation's lawmakers. Will megacitie…
 
Is it time to end Covid emergency measures? With President Biden's plan to transition to a new normal, more than 70% of Americans recently polled agree that “we just need to get on with our lives.” Some advocates of the plan say it's long overdue, pointing to the long term consequences of isolation and broader effects lock downs have had on society…
 
As escalation ratchets higher between Russia and the west over Ukraine, Intelligence Squared U.S. examines a core question: Is a confrontation with Russia worth it? And what effects have sanctions really wrought? Kurt Volker, a former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and former Special Representative for Ukraine, argues that defending Ukraine is very much i…
 
A genetic disease runs in your family. Your doctor tells you that, should you wish to have a child, that child is likely to also carry the disease. But a new gene-editing technology could change your fate. It could ensure that your baby is -- and remains -- healthy. What do you do? It’s is not without its perils. Critics say the technology will exa…
 
If you are an old-fashioned romantic, true love has a nice ring to it. Our films, novels, poems, and music are all steeped in the notion, with characteristics that include unwavering fondness and even selfless devotion. But does it actually exist, driven by our biological underpinnings? Or is it a myth that harms what could be a more realistic, and…
 
It’s been a year of the Biden administration. And for many around the world, the question is simple: Can America still lead like it used to? President Biden, following his predecessor's “America First” policy, promised to “restore the soul of America.” Many took that to mean Washington was looking to reassert itself as the pre-eminent global leader…
 
They say that colleges have become too censorious. That our most prestigious institutions have abandoned their mission of fostering critical minds and sparking thoughtful dissent. And that a generation of American students is missing out. So, this group of scholars and activists are founding something new: a university – they say – dedicated primar…
 
Two years ago in January, the Covid-19 virus made its way to American shores. And so … as we wrap up 2021, we thought we’d bring you an amalgam of our best Covid content. Our host John Donvan guide you through the depths of what to this day remain highly contentious policies and decisions that continue to affect virtually all of us. And so … from a…
 
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…
 
The hereditary lottery, in many democracies, has effectively been replaced by a system in which talent, grit, and ability are meant to determine success. Yet, amidst income inequality and legacy of racism, many wonder whether meritocracy works. Critics point to generational wealth and networks that lead to lucrative jobs and fancy educations. Those…
 
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. Some see "cancelling" as a modern-day means of holding people to account, …
 
The boosters are rolling out. In places likes the U.S., Britain, and Israel, authorities are providing additional Covid-19 vaccines with the goal of bolstering immune systems and shoring up their economies. Though vaccines such as Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have proven highly effective against the virus, efficacy wanes after six months, rendering …
 
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