[Link] “Evaluating Arguments One Step at a Time” (Ought)
Disclosure: I do contract work for Ought.
From the introduction:
We’re studying factored cognition: under what conditions can a group of people accomplish complex cognitive tasks if each person only has minimal context?
In a recent experiment, we focused on dividing up the task of evaluating arguments. We created short, structured arguments for claims about movie reviews. We then tried to distinguish valid from invalid arguments by showing each participant only one step of the argument, not the review or the other steps.
In this experiment, we found that:
1. Factored evaluation of arguments can distinguish some valid from invalid arguments by identifying implausible steps in arguments for false claims.
2. However, experiment participants disagreed a lot about whether steps were valid or invalid. This method is therefore brittle in its current form, even for arguments which only have 1–5 steps.
3. More diverse argument and evidence types (besides direct quotes from the text), larger trees, and different participant guidelines should improve results.
In this technical progress update, we describe these findings in depth.