We live in the post-truth political era. We need to rethink the way the news is told.

News articles all try to add something new to a world-view that is presumed to be already understood and accepted.

But, those unspoken premises are never defined. They can’t be challenged. Holding different sets of vague and ill-defined premises, society’s factions become ever more divided. This has to change.

Concordis allows premises to be explicitly defined – what is believed and why – so that they may be questioned and challenged, so we can hold one another to account.

The Problem

We need to rethink news from the ground up.

News-style expository prose is old technology. It has inherent flaws.

  • Assumptions, premises, and biases are implicit. They cannot be challenged.

  • Told in a single voice, from a single set of cultural assumptions and biases, with a single perspective and world-view.

  • Opposing arguments are routinely distorted without consequence, or need not even be addressed at all.

  • Even the weakest of the author’s arguments goes entirely unchallenged in the original.

  • Journalists re-tell the stories of authorities. With no clear hierarchy of credibility between journalists, consumers refer only to their own identities and preconceptions when deciding who to trust and what to believe.

The Solution

The kind of truth we need right now includes all voices from across the spectrum of informed belief.

Concordis argument maps include differing voices.

They define the bounds of community understanding, inviting honest differences of opinion.

  • All credible perspectives are included and able to challenge one another.

  • Assumptions, premises, and biases are explicit and can be individually challenged.

  • Opponents’ best arguments must be addressed.

  • Thought leaders define areas of community consensus or lack thereof.

  • Thought leaders speak directly. Hierarchies of credibility are revealed.

Documents which define the bounds of credibility will allow all of us to hold others accountable.

Use cases

Inform legislators

Legislators may submit requests for comments to their constituents, lobbyists, and activists.

All stakeholders may contribute their perspectives and evidence. Challenging and checking each other’s work, each will be presented with their opponents’ strongest arguments.

Legislators may then receive a detailed representation of community belief, in an easy-to-understand format. They are empowered and informed.

The community may then track their representatives’ votes over time, relative to the information provided.

Crowdfund difficult answers

The public may post value to entice topic experts to collaborate openly, e.g. a jury of at least 500 people, all of whom worked in significant roles in the State Dept, the Defense Dept, the White House, Congress, and the CIA at the time, may be requested to share their beliefs around whether the George W Bush administration lied us into the Iraq War. The resulting document could be fairly regarded as “the best obtainable version of the truth.”

Pressure public figures to address difficult topics

The public may crowdfund campaigns to engage specific public figures on difficult topics. Creating an argument map which describes an uncomfortable topic in a fair and neutral way, the crowd may then entice a public figure to contribute their beliefs and evidence to the map. Crowdfunded value would be released to needy third parties when the requested perspectives were provided. Politicians will no longer be free to simply ignore certain of their constituencies.

Reputation hierarchies among thought leaders

Concordis will implement Liquid Democracy in its verdict rendering process, enabling thought leaders to optionally delegate their votes to trusted peers. This feature will reveal the hierarchies of trust in any field of consequence. With a reliable external reference, the public will be better able to weigh the relative value of testimony between differing pundits.

The life-cycle of a crowdfunded argument map

Similar to the phases of a court trial, these are the four phases of a crowdfunded argument map.

Phase 1

Bringing the question

The public expresses its desire to have a specific community discuss a claim or question by posting value. The minimum number of jurors is defined, along with their required credentials. The end date of the process is defined, as well.

Phase 2

Gathering the jury

If there is sufficient public interest – represented by the value posted – potential jurors will be motivated to participate. Jurors may also be motivated to participate in order to network among their peers, improve their reputations, share strongly-held beliefs, etc.

Phase 3

Gathering the evidence

The jury details builds out the argument map which naturally grows more and more refined in the areas of greatest remaining disagreement. Each node helps the public to better understand the conversations and contentions within the community which knows the most among us on the topic.

Phase 4

Rendering the verdicts

After the argument map is satisfactorily detailed, jurors then express their beliefs around each argument and piece of evidence. Liquid Democracy streamlines the process and reveals hierarchies of trust among jurors. Bell curves of community consensus become clear, along with the most important reasons which support those beliefs.

This process provides us with an unprecedentedly intimate and accurate window into the actual conversations taking place within a community. With such documents, we will be able to move from the consensus-building phase into the action phase of problem solving in important areas of current public paralysis, such as global warming and mass shootings in the United States.

Example argument map

This Concordis argument map details an opinion piece by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Dissenting thought leaders can be enticed by the public to challenge each assertion and piece of evidence.

Progress

Design and create non-blockchain prototype
Finish alpha testing
Begin closed beta testing
Publish important example collaborations ahead of the 2018 US midterm elections
Attract investment and partnerships

James Tolley

Founder ● Full-stack coder

Steve Patterson

Domain Expert, Argumentation and Critical Thinking

Harlan T Wood

Advisor ● Blockchain coder

Guinevere Nell

Front-end coder ● Economics curator

Sam Small

Media ● Legislative curator

Anand Mani

Corporate identity and design

Drew Phipps

Partnerships

Concordis, LLC

PO Box 791387

Paia, HI 96779

+1 (808) 281-3359

ViresInNumeris@concordis.io