Friday, 23 June 2017

Parenting: Uncovering Unconcious Bias

One of the challenges of bringing up children[1] Up there with leaving the house & making sure they are alive at the end of every day is not passing on any biases or prejudices you have. On the face of things this would seem like an easy problem to solve, just don't discriminate and teach your children the values of equality. The problem arises when we actually stop and think about how we really perceive the world and the people around us. If we really get introspective then we can uncover personal bias that we don't even realise we have.

Let's look at an example. How many fathers out there think on public transport: "it's polite to give up your seat to a woman"? On the face of it you are doing a nice thing. However if you teach that to your son then you are teaching him to treat women differently. This isn't ideal when you want to foster the ideas of equality. In this case you may wish to opt for "it's polite to give up your seat to anyone less able to stand". Women are just as capable as men in standing up :)

Tackling unconscious bias is a tough problem for everyone to solve, you're dealing with how your brain is hardwired to think about things. Only by consciously making an effort to question yourself can you discover these "things that I didn't even know I believed in". Luckily (depending on how you look at it), as your child grows up they will inevitably develop a perfect mechanism to help you with this: The incessant stream of "Why? Why? Why?..."

Monday, 19 June 2017

Destiny 2 - Akimbo Sidearms?

Will Guardians Be Dual Wielding Sidearms?

We got the strongest hint at Akimbo weapons from the Bungie Podcast released 9th June 2017.

Here is a snippet from the podcast (starting from 35:22)
It's interesting because one of those hard questions we asked ourselves when we were putting this out there was like: "well there's sidearms... is there any reason to run sidearm, sidearm?"
That sounds really dumb. That sounds like a bad game *chuckles*

It's not. It's really fun! *more laughter*

And yeah! It's pretty cool.

And we won't... We won't talk about why...

What's interesting here is that:
  • Simply having two sidearms which you switch between is deemed dumb
  • There is some reason why that combination is really fun
  • This reason is being kept secret from us
So what is the big surprise in store for us? Well let's take a look at what Mark Noseworthy said on an interview on Gamertag Radio (starts 1:07:22):
MARK: The first two slots, Kinetic and Energy, they can have the same weapon types. So, you can have a Handcannon in your Kinetic slot, and then like a solar Handcannon, if you want to rock two Handcannon, in the second slot. The reason we've done this is because it gives players more choice, right, you can play the way you want to play, and really change things up. You know, we might even have some interesting interactions between weapons sometimes.
Put this all together and it strongly implies that something "outside of the norm" happens with certain weapon pairings. My best guess is Destiny 2 is going to introduce dual wielding! Sidearms are an excellent candidate for this but there are things to consider though...

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Corda - First Impressions

Today I was lucky enough to attend my first day of training on Corda, an "an open-source distributed ledger platform designed to record, manage and automate legal agreements between businesses".

Roger Willis and Richard Green did a fantastic job and I walked away excited for the 2nd day of training tomorrow. Between then and now I've got a whole load of thoughts/questions on my mind...

Corda isn't a traditional blockchain

Corda doesn't have the concepts of blocks or mining that you will find in Bitcoin and Ethereum. Transactions are purely point-to-point and validated individually in Corda. This stands opposed to the others which group up transactions and calculates a hash for all of them together (turning them into a block).


What is there to stop the transaction history being modified? Well transactions are digitally signed and assuming all parties keep their private key safe, no one can realistically change history. On top of this, the ledger isn't reliant on mining and is designed to be immutable. This means that the only change parties expect to see is on current state.

Data Privacy

Transactions aren't broadcast globally to the entire network and only sent on a need-to-know basis. This protects against data leakage as parties in the network don't have free access to monitor who everyone is interacting with. Keeping the data contained also limits the damage if your private key is somehow compromised because your encrypted data isn't freely available to a potential attacker.