Many public issues, such as environmental actions, involve a large number of diverse stakeholders such as governments, corporations, organizations (e.g. NGOs), and concerned citizens. Discussions frequently become contentious as the stakeholders defend their potentially conflicting goals with various assumptions, views, and expert testimony. These issues also tend to involve a range of fields. For example, the disposition of nuclear waste includes issues of economics, science, engineering, politics, and intergenerational justice, each with large uncertainties due to dependences on indirect estimations and the long time periods involved. At the same time that these complex issues might increase in number, due to applications of new technologies, tools are being developed on the Internet to enable flexible learning, visualization, collaborative conferencing, distributed computing, and meaning‐based (semantic) context. These tools might enable improved techniques for debating and discussing these complex issues. A technique that might facilitate orderly discussion of various arguments would include explicit recording and visualization of the evidence, its assumptions and uncertainties, their relationships in constructing the overall argument, and the ways the evidence needs to be generalized to support the argument. A simple argument visualization approach is explored based on a combination of an argument logic framework and techniques for fusing generalized data that are similar to kriging in spatial analysis. This approach is then applied to a recently contested risk analysis of nuclear waste disposition that was debated in a peer‐reviewed journal, involving concerns about uses of data, complex computational models, uncertainty analysis, and expert judgment. The need for wider understanding of such complex issues might be addressed by a convergence of techniques to facilitate greater understanding and the advanced Internet technologies to lower barriers to their adoption.
LePoire, D.J. (2006), "An approach to facilitating communication of expert arguments through visualisation", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 27-36. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779960680000279Download as .RIS
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