Let’s Talk: quality conversations in a safe environment

Photo: Sofia Perpetua

Let’s Talk is a digital platform that will connect users who have a different positioning about different issues to start a conversation mediated and scored by a bot. The bot will reward participants with the best debating skills. The main goal of this team is to inspire consumers of information to leave their bubbles to talk with people who have different positions on different issues and educate them on how to participate in a quality debate. This project is produced in Recife, Brazil.

Team’s CEO is Ana Addobbati and her team partner is Janaina Lima.

How does Let’s Talk manage to educate its audience for a quality debate?

Ana Addobbati: Let’s talk aims to educate the audience on how to debate, motivating them to leave their comfort zone reason. We developed this first to have fun, and second to have a way to reward those who participate in the experiment, but also learn how to engage in meaningful public debate. It’s first and foremost a way to attract an audience and show them how important it is to have a quality debate. Before getting into the competition, participants take part in quizzes and other assessments that show them how to improve their emotional intelligence and argumentation and also to stimulate them to put together their ideas and be ready for a debate.

Why is it important at this moment to create a project like Let’s Talk?

Ana Addobbati: In a moment where polarization is a phenomenon that is taking place across the globe, we believe this project as a solution for creating safe environments for  participants to debate, share ideas, engage in civilized debate, listen to others, and create a rationale that shows. It aim is to demonstrate the importance of sustaining quality conversations instead of using violence. We believe it’s an important solution, to show people that conversations are the best way to recover our faith in humanity, and your political position doesn’t matter. Always listening to others is a way to create bridges instead of build walls.

How has process with the New Ventures Lab gone?

Ana Addobbati: In NVL we had to jump into technological issues to make the solution visible, which was really important. If we were not taking part in this forum, probably we would have given up on after the first challenge we came across. My partner and I, we are not developers. That is the reason for being in the NVL. Using the network of Chicas to talk with people who can guide us was a crucial step to not give up and continue to look for a potential solution for the market.

What has helped you to work as a team?

Ana Addobbati: It was interesting that my partner and I didn’t come from a technological background. Also, we live in different cities, but we still manage to take advantage of our strengths. Janaina has good connections in Recife, which is our natural, technological hub. And she always is talking to key people to give us feedback so we can build the solution together. As I’m in Sao Paulo, I also was able to reach other people who are relevant for the project. Pretty much, it’s about being aware of the process, which requires discipline, self motivation. Because there are only two of us, sometimes it becomes a little bit overwhelming to identify our strengths and delegate, given the number of tasks.  

AnaAddobbati, Let’s Talk CEO. Photo: Sofia Perpetua

What has it been like to undertake and lead a project on debate in a polarized country?

Ana Addobbati: While prototyping, we had unexpected and positive feedback about the experience. We were confident that the game would be a good social solution for democracy. Also, the fact that there will be a reward at the end would motivate and engage the participants. However, additional values were highlighted by those who took part in the prototype experience, such as the importance of having a safe environment to articulate ideas and listening to others in a place where the rules clearly state that violence is not welcome.

At what stage is the project in its development?

Ana Addobbati: Right now, we are discussing partnerships to develop the bot because we have to rely on artificial intelligence. The bot that we are designing to moderate the game is pretty sophisticated. That was a kind of holdback, but instead of holding us back Chicas connected us to key people who are working in technology for democracy and we have good path to move forward. Right now, we are reviewing our budget and pitching to get stakeholders on board with us.

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