How to Write a PF Debate Case with AI in 30 Minutes or Less (and what to do with the saved time)

In this blog I’m going to explain how to write a Public Forum debate case in 30 minutes or less using ChatGPT(4), Bing, and I’ll then explain what students can do with their time to enhance their critical thinking and increase the likelihood that they will win debates.

This post and subsequent posts will use the Arctic as an example topic, though any topic is substitutable.

What steps did I take?

First, I entered a very simple prompt into ChatGPT4.  CHatGPT4 does require a $20/month subscription.

ChatGPT4 has substantially greater reasoning abilities and has fewer hallucination problems that ChatGPT3 so I think it’s worth the $20.  It also accesses plug-ins (web search + others). And it will provide a 32,000 token output (approximately 25,000 words). ChatGPT’s single output is much smaller than that.

This prompt produced the following:

Notice that “Web Pilot” did not work. This did not surprise me, as I’ve had mixed results using that Plug-In. There is another way to search directly within ChatGPT4 (Bing search) but that doesn’t always work well either, but let’s hold on that, as I’ll cover web search later.

Web search aside, this is a pretty mediocre speech. But the way to solve that isn’t to throw ChatGPT away, it’s to ask it for more details with a new prompt and then ask it to rewrite the speech.

This is my additional prompt —

And this is the output —

I also did this for the second contention.  Prompt —

And, yes, the impact could be better.

Anyhow, we now have a basic speech (if you want more specific details for your speech, you can do the same thing with more specific prompts).

Before we move on, however, I want to highlight two things about prompting.

(1) Prompting is a conversation, not a one-off request. Ask for more of what you want and need as you go and it will be delivered. Think about follow-up prompts.

(2) Think about your language choices.  Until we have debate-specific training AIs (hopefully soon), we have to think about what language we use. ChatGPT is going to have a basic understanding of what an “impact” is, but in debate we often want worst case scenarios.  Add that language to your prompts.

Yes, prompting is about critical thinking, and unlike Googling, it’s a useful skill.

But what about research.  For now, I think it’s best to use AI tools elsewhere.

New Bing

The first place you use AI to do research is at the New Bing. There are instructions for creating an account here (“Four Ways to Search”). This is free.

I chose more precise results.

I think asked it for citations for my contention

It gets to work

It gives me some citations.

And even some bonus citations.

The other place I’d do this is at A reliable web search for research purposes does require a $20 monthly subscription.

I get pretty good, well-organized results. And it even isolates my claims.

OK so now that I have all this material, what should I do?

(1) I’d click on the articles and fact check them to make sure they do make those claims. These tools can still hallucinate, though it’s becoming more rare with web search integration.

(2) Find some “cards” so you can directly quote if that’s your thing (I encourage that). I’ll cover “auto card cutting” in another post.

(3) Integrate the references and/or cards into your speech. as noted, I couldn’t get AI to do that yet, but we are getting closer to that. If I had started with Bing rather than ChatGPT I would have been able to do that a bit more, but I don’t think Bing writes speeches/essays as well as ChatGPT4 (even when using them integrated in Creative mode in Bing) so I still started with ChatGPT.

(4) Practice your speech. If it’s too long, simply ask ChatGPT to write it within a word limit.

Now I want to Preempt the argument that Stefan is destroying debate and education by “turning the crap out” of such a propostrous claim.

(1) Turn: Prompting is a 21C skill and this gives you practice doing it.
(2) Turn: Prompting requires critical thinking and the development of human-computer communication skills. You are practicing those.
(3) Turn:  Googling is not a skill. Basic web searching probably will not even exist in a few years, with people using person and subject specific AIs to simply get actual answers to questions.
(4) Turn: Time. So, you now have a lot  more time on your hands. If you think you”re done with your debate research because this would have been good enough or better in the pre-AI world, you are going to get crushed by someone who uses AI to enable them rather than as a crutch.  What to do with our time?

(a) Spend more time reading the articles you find for new arguments.
(b) Write more arguments with your AI-assistant.
(c) Spend more time practice debating; this will enhance your critical thinking and debating skills.
(d) Actually practice crossfire
(e) Learn some Python and develop your own API for debate training
(f) Practice debate AIs (more on that soon).