MD3 Geek Sessions – Open table


Geek Session - Open Round Table is a simple concept: a debate about a subject with two sides, one in favour and one against between the MD3's team.

Words by
in 14.07.2022

The concept is simple: a debate about a subject with two sides, one in favour and one against (more or less like is seen in American high school teen movies).

In the beginning, the rules were: panels (“pros” Vs “cons”) of 2 minimum and 3 maximum; which table had 20 minutes to present/speak and they decided how much time a person could be active (presenting arguments).

Although after two sessions we had to change the one-panel rule. It is a classical debate (X vs Y) minimum per table is 1 and the maximum is 5 and if is a “round table” debate minimum is 3 and the maximum 6.

The goal of this activity is to foment healthy discussion and perhaps learn new things or even change viewpoints that we think are immutable in our minds.

All themes are open and everyone is free to propose, there are no fixed “teams” and anyone can team up with whoever they want since not even friends agree on everything ?

Basic Rules

  • All themes go to a voting process and then the debate’s date is set
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • In classical debates which table has 20 minutes and teams are allowed to manage that time as they want and for every interaction, it’s not mandatory to exist a counter interaction from the other table (but it would be better though). This will make a 40 minutes debate (or less) and the remaining time for the audience to participate as well.
  • In round table discussions, the table has 30 minutes to talk/present the subject, leaving the remaining time for the audience to participate as well.
  • It’s mandatory to have a moderator present and doesn’t need to be the same person every session.
  • Anyone can participate at the table as long as they want and have any interest in the subject.
  • This is to have fun and to take it easy.
  • The rules, duration and table management can change depending on the session course.

The idea for this activity was based on this debate: IQ2 Debate: Don't Trust The Promise Of Artificial Intelligence

The pilot episode

Ok so as a pilot and first session, the topic addressed was “Machines Vs Humans”, field “Tecnologia” and points to discuss “Do machines support human tasks or do they replace humans?”, in “favour” of the machines table we had Emerson Nunes and Ricardo Pinto, on the opposite side we had Joana Vieira and Gonçalo Dias and as moderator António Lopes.

The debate starts with the “favour” side pointing out that machines might be (or already are) a strong asset to mankind and society once they can be used to execute minute and unnecessary tasks - by saving time.

On the other hand, the opposite table focuses essentially on the fact that machines start to be used to replace humans in social environments - labour to be more precise - giving as an example current Portuguese tolls systems.

The audience highlighted points such as a possible dystopia of utopia where the world could be built by humans and humanoids making it impossible to distinguish between them and also the fact that inevitably machines will reach the point that we are discussing now.

S01 EP02 - “Privacy Vs Security, field Technology”

The second session was “Privacy Vs Security, field Technology”, with a point to discuss “Is it worth the sacrifice of one for the other?”. On “Privacy” table André Clemente, on “Security” table António Lopes and as moderator Joana Vieira.

For the “Privacy” side main focus was that current days big companies use users' personal data to build and trace back individual profiles giving the example of data brokers - example Data Brokers: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) - and the dangers that may emerge from it, giving refugees and domestic violence like exposing their location.

On the other hand from a “Security” perspective, it was reinforced that is nearly impossible to exist any type of security  - at least in the digital world - without abdicating some privacy being that through a connection to ISP or VPN since everything has a trail (MAC address, IP address, ….), pointing out that at the “end of the day” is the user that decides if they want to give up their own privacy by using the services.

This time the majority of the audience shows a lot more concern with the manipulation and selling of personal data for the data brokers rather than their own security.

S01 EP03 - "Destiny, field Philosophy"

The third session, theme “Destiny”, field “Philosophy”, discussed the point “Does it exist? And how far is this possible to apply?”. In this session we go for a “Round table” with 5 people: Ana Lisboa; André Clemente; Diogo Gouveia; Inês Paraíso; Jorge Silva e Tânia Forreta.

I have to confess that I didn’t memorise - how things flow I mean - what happened in this session, although I going just to highlight some of the things I record better: destiny in a way gives life meaning ideologically and religiously, through faith; scientifically destiny is a set of probabilities and semantics, and finally a lot of times humans use “destiny” to justify wrong and immoral actions.

S01 EP04 - "Occultism"

Finally, in our last session, the theme and field were “Occultism”. Like in the previous session we chose to go with a “round table”, however, this time was more a share of experiences between the table and the audience rather than a discussion expected from a debate, it was good anyway.

To conclude, I think people so far seem to be motivated in participating as much as a part in a table or in the audience. It’s an opportunity and a moment that allows them to talk and share their own - and even truthful ? -  experiences, ideologies, etc… that may be in a different context could seem like a controversy. And of course, nothing like a good old fashion conversation to make it all clear or as we say in Portuguese “Tudo em pratos limpos” (google translate makes it this way “all on clean plates”) ?

Want to know more about our activities? Check it here.

Namaste and have a nice day ??