300 schoolchildren from all over Spain qualified for the grand final of the VII CICAE – UCJC Debate League, held at the Camilo José Cela University this weekend, where they debated on whether or not “Is the rapid progress that the development of artificial intelligence systems (Open AI, Chat GPT, etc.) has had in recent years and will have in the future a positive development?”
The students, from 3rd of ESO to 2nd of Bachillerato, presented their arguments about the positive impact and consequences of the great development of artificial intelligence. The topic was addressed from a wide range of approaches, such as ethical, educational, economic or health, with opinions ranging from praising progress to more critical views.
Before the start of each debate, a draw is made as to whether the team is debating for or against, so they have to have all positions prepared, with the aim of amplifying their knowledge of the subject and their tolerance of all ideas. The main arguments in favor were that artificial intelligence has a great potential to solve complex problems and process data quickly and efficiently, which is positive for the economy and business. It also has the potential to improve people’s quality of life in areas such as health care, helping, for example, doctors in the early detection of diseases. In addition, artificial intelligence is developing at a rapid pace that will make it possible to better address future challenges such as climate change, overpopulation or lack of natural resources.
On the contrary, students argued that artificial intelligence is a risk to privacy and security of personal data, as well as being vulnerable to cyber-attacks and being used for malicious purposes. Since it is based on learning from historical data, it can contribute to perpetuating existing prejudices and discrimination in society and be biased towards certain groups or profiles due to the way it is trained. Finally, it will automate some jobs, which may lead to job losses in certain sectors, generating significant volumes of unemployment.
The event began with an opening speech by journalist Sonsoles Ónega, who offered some advice to the young debaters. “Write what you want your listener to remember, make sure it is new and surprising, understand what you are going to expose to be concise and use examples that make visible what you want to say,” said the writer.
Finally, a team from Brains International School La Moraleja won in English and a group from Mirabal International School in Spanish. The titles for best speakers of the tournament went to Alba Borrego (Brains International School La Moraleja) and Laura López (Mirasur), in English and Spanish, respectively.
The CICAE – UCJC Debate League
This competition is promoted by the Association of Private and Independent Schools – CICAE and Camilo José Cela University. Participants are trained by experts in competitive debating. Also, during the course, workshops are organized to deepen the topics to be debated and they are provided with documentation so that they can advance in their preparation.
The practice of debate among schoolchildren aims to develop skills such as the search for truthful information, the analysis of evidence or the definition of arguments on the issue to be addressed.
The CICAE – UCJC Debate League is joined each year by schools that are committed to giving prominence to debate in their classrooms, and there are already close to 40 schools throughout Spain that are part of the initiative. Students from 3rd ESO to 2nd Baccalaureate participate in each tournament and can do so in Spanish or English, as both types of competition are held simultaneously.
The seventh edition of the CICAE – UCJC Pre-University Debate League has the collaboration of aulaPlaneta, Alkora, Mc Yadra, Trinity College of London and Train&Talk.