ReCAP – Information Retrieval and Case-Based Reasoning for Robust Deliberation and Synthesis of Arguments in the Political Discourse

The ReCAP proposal follows the vision of future argumentation machines that support researchers, journalistic writers, as well as human decision makers to obtain a comprehensive overview of current arguments and opinions related to a certain topic, as well as to develop personal, well-founded opinions justified by convincing arguments. Such argumentation machines automatically explore and process available information sources on the web, particularly argumentative texts and factual content relevant for the specific topic under discussion. Unlike existing search engines, which primarily operate on the textual level, such argumentation machines will reason on a knowledge level formed by arguments and argumentation structures. For a given particular context, such reasoning will actively support the deliberation of arguments and counter-arguments for the issue under consideration, based on present opinions and facts on the Web. In addition, it will support the synthesis of new contributions to the deliberation process, based on analogical transfer of arguments and argumentation structures from similar related contexts and topics.

The ReCAP project aims at significantly contributing to the realisation of this vision by a research program, linked with the other projects in the Priority Programme RATIO. The focus is on the novel contributions to and confluence of methods from information retrieval (IR) and knowledge representation and reasoning (RI), in particular case-based reasoning. The aim is to develop methods that are able to capture arguments in a robust and scalable manner, in particular representing, contextualizing, and aggregating arguments and making them available to a user. To develop a comprehensive understanding of the potential future uses of argumentation machines already in the early phase of the project and to focus the methodological and experimental research work we include application partners who are experts in political debates. We will develop professionally annotated corpora and elaborate several use cases for deliberation and synthesis as gold standard, which will also be shared with the other projects in the Priority Programme for benchmarking purposes.