actorartathleteauthorbizcrimecrosspostcustomerservicedirectoredufoodgaminghealthjournalistmedicalmilmodpostmunimusicnewsworthynonprofitotherphilpolretailscispecialisedspecializedtechtourismtravelunique

Specialized ProfessionWe are Hackers for Hire, aka Professional Pentesters. AMA!

Mar 23rd 2017 by todbatx • 52 Questions • 1104 Points

Thanks for all the questions! I had a great time. See you down the road!

Mark

I’ve had an amazing and crazy career in gaming! Sneakers on the Apple 2 was my first game, then I went to work for Activision making Atari VCS games, moved on to Hasbro/Isix to make interactive movie games, shifted to Midway Games for 20 years leading hits like Smash TV, NBA JAM, WWF Wrestlemania, NFL Blitz, NBA Ballers, then joined EA as Sr Creative Dir for EA Sports, and finally as Sr Creative Director at Zynga brought fun and the “On Fire” mode to Bubble Safari. Today I’m still applying the old coin-op lessons to our mobile Wizard of Oz: Magic Match game - learning more and working just as hard every single day to bring fun and smiles to game players. Boomshakalaka! Best. Job. Ever.

Proof: https://i.redd.it/tk1d3zx9ldny.jpg

Q:

Have you ever thought about working for the government?

A:

Thanks for the great response. Why don't we (the government or people who can) close the fiscal gap then?


Q:

What are your top pieces of academic advice for university students?

A:

Was there any inspiration behind the legendary announcer calls from NBA JAM? These phrases are still used today haha

"He's on fire"

"From downtown..."

"BOOMSHAKALAKA!"


Q:

Those background checks are rough.

Also, I can't take polygraph tests seriously. Since they're garbage science.

A:

I just realized I didn't give a good enough answer on this. Sorry about that. The reason we don't is that we can't agree, and there's still a long way to go to get there. Republicans don't want to do tax increases. Democrats don't want to do significant cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid (the parts that are actually growing). So, that leaves us at a longer-term impasse.

But, all the stuff I said about the progress is still true.


Q:

Society grants you an acceptable and high-status identity as a student. It's a gift. You get four years, or more, to explore and learn. But it's your responsibility to learn. Everything you need to know, that people know, is in the library. Read great things. Don't waste time.

Consider your education a full-time job. Schedule your time. Discipline yourself. Learn to write. Learn to read. Make yourself powerful.

A:

We worked with the super talented VO guy Tim Kitzrow. I provided him categories and some suggestions along with John Hey our sound designer, and then Tim ad-libbed a bunch. He's magic in the sound booth.

No doubt the SFX and timings of all the VO was key to the games vibe and success. We worked hard on noodling the rules, timings, and frequency/rarity.


Q:

I work at a financial institution in South East Asia. How difficult to penetrate a midsize financial institution?

What are some tell tale sign of bad security visible to public?

A:

Isn't LIHEAP proposed for either drastic reductions or total elimination every year?


Q:

What do you think of all of the memes about you?

A:

How difficult was it change the NBA's view of the game so that they would give you the license?


Q:

We discuss this some in our paper, Under the Hoodie. Turns out, there's not a ton of difference between industries, which we found kind of surprising.

You'd think that places like financial institutions and healthcare providers would have better security than a retail outlet, but the fact of the matter is, everyone runs pretty much the same stack -- Microsoft desktops, Linux servers, and Cisco switches and routers (and if not those, their top two or three competitors).

So, broadly, techniques and tech really don't change much from site to site. There's always something new you run into on every site, but the basics are the same where ever you go.

A:

Obama's final year called for a reduction, but his first years called for large increases. Bush 43's first budget called for an 18% reduction. That's pretty drastic, but not in the realm of complete elimination. Budgets before FY1996 are not online, and Bush 41 and Reagan were before my time, so I couldn't answer that.


Q:

I think the world is a very absurd place.

A:

Very hard! Their understanding of arcades was solely based on Times Square in NY, which was very seedy and dangerous at the time. We made videos of normal arcades to win them over.


Q:

Cant you alreafy get arrested from doing a port scan? In the future, that will likely be considered rape. The future is dumb.

A:

What's a step that Americans on both sides of the aisle would agree to that would help balance the budget?


Q:

Don't you mean it's a very 'abzurd' place?

A:

Since you worked on several of the most legendary arcade games ever, and are now working in mobile games. Do you feel that mobile games have become the new "arcade games" in a manner of speaking?

Second question if you feel like answering it; what is your funniest story while doing development for the games at midway.


Q:

In the US, portscanning isn't nearly as risky as it used to be. We scan the internet pretty routinely, and talk about it at Project Sonar.

A:

Great question. The answer is that most of the low-hanging fruit is used in deals. There just aren't trillions of dollars for things that each side says is fine. In order to get to a place, one side needs to have the ability to exert its will, or each side needs to be willing to do stuff it doesn't like. One of the biggest issues with growing polarization is that agreeing to the stuff you don't like is a much bigger deal. Bush 41 increased taxes. When's that happening again? For the Joint Select Committee of Deficit Reduction, Paul Ryan was one of the Republicans appointed. Not a chance in the world that he was going to accept big tax increases. Chris Van Hollen was there on the other side. Not a chance he was going to go for major Medicaid cuts.


Q:

You say tomato, I say tomahtoe...

A:

Mobile games are definitely the new arcade games. The current crop of arcade games are just timed explosive action for your $.

Tons of fun stories at Midway - but Undertaker looking at us and saying he wouldn't work until we went and bought some Whiskey resonates for me.


Q:

Vim or Emacs?

A:

What are some of the more surprising things that the average American wouldn't know about major spending / how the government pays for things?


Q:

You said once that you believe Nietzsche went mad because of the invasion of the hero archetype into the conscious ego, and that that was an experience that was powerful enough to have a psychotic component. Could you expand on that?

Secondly, now that you are embodying the hero archetype in the minds of so many (on Twitter, you even described yourself as a 'meme attractor'), what steps are you taking to keep yourself from falling into the same trap as Nietzsche?

A:

Was that before or after 1998, when he threw mankind off Hell in a cell, who then fell 16 feet through the announcer's table?


Q:

Vim.

A:

I think that humans generally don't deal with percentages or multiplication well. And so even if we know how much things "should" cost (questionable), I don't think anyone intuits the multiplication of that across the population. So, when people hear, "The budget is $4 trillion," that sounds crazy. But when I tell you that Social Security and health care make up half of that, it's a little less crazy. In truth, I think humans (myself included) are bad at estimating everything until they're forced to make percentages add to 100. That's how people can think that foreign aid is 28% of the budget, when it reality it's (depending on whom you ask - this is an impossible question because the classification of what's really foreign aid is too murky) is anywhere between like 0.2% and 2%.

I'd check this out: http://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/policy-basics-where-do-our-federal-tax-dollars-go


Q:

My wife keeps me from identifying too much with the archetype :)

Seriously, though, I have people around who keep my feet on the ground. Sanity is something better outsourced.

A:

He came in around 1994. All of those guys were a bit of a mess to be honest.


Q:

VI. And bring back Lynx and Pine while we're at it.

A:

So all those memes are way off?


Q:

Professor, you have talked in your lectures  about wasting time and not operating even close to our potential effectiveness. How can on defeat lethargy and procrastination? (I know you've mentioned things like getting up early and eating breakfast). Do you follow a detailed day plan? Thanks!!

A:

So it was before 1998, when he threw mankind off Hell in a cell, who then fell 16 feet through the announcer's table. Cool.


Q:

You are wrong, /u/hackamuffin.

Links is way nicer than lynx.

A:

Which memes? Are you talking about the ones showing defense at over 50% of spending?


Q:

I follow an extremely detailed day plan. I schedule constantly, by the hour, week, month and multi-month period. It's absolutely necessary if you want to be productive. Start with a simple schedule.

If you hate the idea, think about it this way: you are not scheduling what you have to do (what you MUST do). You are trying to design the perfect day, week, month, etc. Some of this will include meeting your obligations, but it shouldn't all be that. Plan a day that you would regard as positive and successful.

A:

Yes, correct.


Q:

In the process :) - I should have said from a development perspective.

A:

Exactly. If your figures are correct myself and many liberals have been duped. I'm way less attached to being right than the truth. I'm so sick of the twisted misinformation.


Q:

Which questions are keeping you up at night? How can we assist you in finding answers to them?

A:

Did you think it might have turned out differently if you were working around... I don't know... maybe 1999 or 2000... sometime after 1998, when The Undertaker threw Mankind off Hell in a Cell, who then fell 16 feet through the announcer's table?


Q:

Drop out and start working! Or, get an internship while you're in school. Either way, start getting out into the field for real.

(I didn't end up finishing my degree until I was 38).

A:

The figures I linked to are correct. The image you see floating around is from the National Priorities Project. The percentages are correct, but they represent funding for only what's called the "discretionary" part of the budget - that which Congress actively debates each year through the annual appropriations process, rather than programs where the funding has already been agreed upon. The discretionary part of the budget is only about one-third of all spending.

The two categories are discretionary and mandatory. On the mandatory side is Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps (that's another thing typically wrong the graph - it mentions food stamps, but it shows something hitting WIC), school lunches, unemployment insurance, some retirement things, and whatnot. On the discretionary side is most of what we think about when we think of government programs. It's WIC. It's Section 8. It's NASA. It's NIH. It's the National Science Foundation. It's funding the arts and humanities. It's all the tiny things that get a little big of government help. And, because of Article I, Section 8, Clause 12 of the Constitution, that's where our military budget lives. The founders were very wary of standing armies, but of course it doesn't make sense to have a non-professional army.

At any rate, it is correct that the military is over half of what Congress approves every year, but I consider it deeply misleading, and I mention it whenever I see my friends share that graph on Facebook. It's true that we aren't debating Social Security and Medicare, and so the military is getting half of what we're debating, but the whole question is "what does XX say about our priorities," and current spending on mandatory programs need to be part of that question.

I similarly don't like the statistic "we're spending more than the next XX countries combined!" Yeah, well, we're also bigger than the next XX countries combined. That would be like complaining that California is spending more on police than all of New England combined. Yeah, well, its economy is bigger than all of New England combined. The reason we're spending too much is not because of what France is doing. It's because we don't need to be ready to go to war with the entire world at a moment's notice. It's because the threats we face are not the kinds that would require major troop mobilization. So, don't get me wrong - I still think 16% is huge. I think spending 1/6 of your dollars on the military is a lot. But it's not half.

In general, if something feels crazy, you should see what a few fact checkers have to say. It might be true. Some really crazy things are true. But some have been slightly twisted.


Q:

I am preoccupied right now with determining how to go about using YouTube most effectively. I am going to start a series of lectures on the Biblical stories. I want to do a good job of that.

Apart from that, I am trying to keep up with my obligations and opportunities. I have a business and a clinical practice and a family and graduate students and a social media following and a book to finish and another one to write and thousands of emails to try to answer (many of which are extremely heartfelt and thoughtful). I'm trying to figure out how to stay on top of this, and to say "no," when it's necessary without unduly disappointing people.

But most particularly I am trying not to make a mistake in what I say or do because such a thing might well be fatal given the insane amount of attention that is currently focused on me.

I'm not complaining. I have been provided with an amazing set of opportunities. But it's a highwire act and many people are depending on me and I don't want to get careless and fall.

A:

:)


Q:

Any easy way to see if my phone has been infiltrated by anyone I wouldn't want there?

A:

Exactly. If your figures are correct myself and many liberals have been duped. I'm way less attached to being right than the truth. I'm so sick of the twisted misinformation.


Q:

What advice would you give to someone like myself who is suffering from severe anxiety and depression to the point where they can't even leave their bed all day? You are a huge inspiration to me and I would really appreciate your insight.

A:

Hi, Mark! It was an absolute pleasure briefly visiting and working with you guys in San Diego - you were all insanely nice to me, and I won't forget it. I'm also always immensely glad to see people who obviously love their jobs, and stay in the industry. I know how rough it can be, and I'm happy when folks persevere. It also helps that you're a genuinely nice dude. :P -Howie


Q:

Easy? I can't think of many. There are companies that make anti-malware for phones, like Zimperium which are fine, but for most people who don't have enterprise security on the phone, the best bet is to avoid shady, off-brand app stores, keep your automatic updates going, and factory refresh maybe once a year (you do have backups of all your photos, right?).

If you see that you're suddenly texting people with spam links, or find weird apps you never installed, then you've likely been owned.

A:

This is all to say that there's currently a budget for travel and for protection, and it's not difficult to move around money to make it work. I promise you that this money was appropriated.


Q:

Go see a mental health professional. Don't delay. There are effective treatments for such conditions. Anti-depressants are very useful for some people. You'd know within a month if they were helpful. They'll be plenty to suffer about in your life. If you can help yourself with a medication, thank your luck stars and do it. It's not a cop-out, particularly if you try to put your life together while you're trying the medication.

A:

Howie! You're an amazing talent and wish we could have worked together longer! And you're right - if someone persists in this business for many many years, it's pretty rare and they're probably doing something right. I'll take your "Genuinely nice dude" comment as the best comment of the day! Thanks!


Q:

If you are asked to fill out a pareto chart style (roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes) What would be you pick of 20% say in case of networks, web and mobile?

A:

What is your personal opinion of the Trump budget, as presented yesterday?

E: added "personal"


Q:

What should low conscientiousness people do?

A:

What's his whiskey of choice?

...leaves work to go buy said whiskey.


Q:

So, what accounts for all the win in the network, or what accounts for all the fail? I'll cover both, since oddly, the answer is the same.

Most network and computer resiliency -- the stuff that makes the target hard to hack -- is due to decent patch management. If your organization is diligent in getting updates out to servers, desktops, and mobile, you're 80% of the way there, for sure.

When it comes to exploiting vulnerabilities, though, most of the time, it's due to that small population of machines that don't see automatic updates. They may be "too critical to reboot," or they're some goofy IoT thing that can't get updated reasonably. That's where pentesters (and criminals) live.

A:

I don't like it's priorities. We currently spend about 16% of our money on our military, and I don't think we need to spend more than that. If we want to spend more money on military, I don't think it should be at the expense of programs that keep people out of poverty.

That said, this was a very incomplete document. We'll get a lot more information in the bigger budget in May, and so we'll get a better sense of his priorities, which may look different by then.


Q:

They should do the Future Authoring program at www.selfauthoring.com. We designed it exactly to help people that have a hard time sticking to their plans (or a hard time planning). I would also say that you might have more luck doing so if you take advantage of your other high level personality traits. So if you are extraverted, try to plan to be around people; if agreeable, concentrate on relationships; if open, do something creative.

A:

He demanded Jack Daniels. But at least he eventually worked hard! Doink the Clown... Mr Perfect... Not so much.


Q:

Are you 4chan?

A:

Thanks for the reply!


Q:

Dr. Peterson,
I have often felt that the phrase "love the sinner, hate the sin" was imprecise, but could never put my finger on exactly how. Do you think it is an accurate statement of how we should treat each other and our actions, and if not, how then should we act?

A:

I'm a die hard wrestling fan and I can tell you, in the 90s, wrestling was a traveling circus. EVERYONE was drunk, coked up and on a TON of pain killers.


Q:

Nope.

A:

Sure - hope you found it useful!


Q:

"Love the sinner" is precisely what a good psychotherapist practices. When someone comes to see me, I am on that person's side (but not on the side of the part of them that is working towards destruction). I help people separate the wheat from the chaff -- not to eliminate the chaff so much as to gather the wheat.

A:

Yes. There was a late night bar in Rosemont where they'd all go after shows in Chicago, and we'd get sucked into the mix now and again. Always a mess. Even My Fuji.


Q:

Steve-O here: If Todd Beardsley shaves his beard does the universe collapse on itself?

A:

I did. Just yesterday I was wondering what sorts of things budget analysts think when reading such an unusual budget. Turns out, in this case anyway, at least one of them thinks more or less what I thought (with far less swearing!).


Q:

Hi Dr. Peterson, we hope that you will join us some time on /r/jordanpeterson or /r/Maps_of_Meaning.

  • What do you make of your popularity among atheists?

  • Have you read much of Rene Girard? If not, I think you will be struck by the many complimentary parallels with your views.

  • What does the 'B' stand for?

  • Top 5 favourite music acts/albums? and why is #1 Tom Waits?

  • Does your world view require belief in a conscious agent's ability to suspend the natural order?

  • Do you have any thoughts about M-103 passing?

edit: a typo

A:

Can you please speak on the rumored NBA Jam made for specific NBA players with Michael Jordan included?


Q:

No. That only happens if egypt shaves his. In theory. Let's pray we never find out.

A:

Haha, well, this is my measured response the day after. Yesterday was a very long day with a lot of unhappiness. There are a lot of things I'm willing to compromise on. Food, shelter, and heating are not among them.


Q:

Atheists can like me too. I don't mind. Tom Waits is a genius. Life would be a lot more miserable without him. I really like Arcade Fire. But I'm old, so I like 70's dinosaur rock most of all. Supertramp's Crime of the Century, Dark Side of the Moon, Creedence Clearwater.

M103? Not surprising. A mistake, but not surprising. At least it didn't make it through unanimously.

A:

I have it!

NBA Jam was made and tested in Chicago. Jordan was in all those early games, and weeks before we were to ship nationwide he pulled out of all NBA licensed products due to his Nike deal.

But then... After the game became a hit, Gary Payton & Ken Griffey reached out through their agents to get a custom game with themselves included, and said MJ wanted to be included as well. So we made special eproms and gave them to the 3.


Q:

What are some common security practices that infuriate you?

A:

So is my impression correct that the GOP and WH are trying to sell this budget in terms of the 'trickle down' theory that tax cuts for the richest will result in job creation?


Q:

Creedence eh? Do you have an archetypal interpretation of The Dude?

A:

any chance you could dump those EPROMs to the Internet...

asking for a friend. 😅


Q:

The belief there's a well defined "internal" vs "external" side, given that we have mobile devices moving around all the time, and everyone's shoving their core infrastructure off to the cloud.

Network segmentation is hard.

A:

We'll have a better answer to that when we see the bigger budget likely in May. This budget only had discretionary spending (about 1/3 of the budget), and it didn't have any tax policy.

That being said, President Trump has been pretty explicit about the fact that he believes his policies will lead to higher growth, which is the concept being supply-side economics - that there will be a change in the underlying supply of labor in response to changes in tax policy. His tax cuts he proposed on the campaign reflected that. So probably, but we will have to wait to be certain.


Q:

He's a trickster figure, precursor to the archetypal savior.

A:

I could! Will try to dig up .


Q:

How important do you consider network security measures like SIEM log monitoring, vuln scan/mgmt, and patch mgmt to be?

Side note - I work in that particular industry and am constantly surprised when I speak with an ISO who simply doesn't give a shit.

A:

Republicans have preached that reducing taxes will boost the economy and net tax revenue will remain the same. In you experience and analysis, have you found this to be true?


Q:

Hello Dr. Peterson,

How would you differentiate someone being part of a movement, religion or someone other comprehensive belief-system versus succumbing to ideology?

You mentioned during the Resurrection of Logos talk that you study the Sermon on the Mount quite a bit, what is your favourite excerpt?

Also, what is your favourite cookie?

Thank you for your answers, this AMA and all your work.

A:

Can you describe some of the "never seen before" NFL Blitz footage? Is it lost forever or is there a chance we see it in the upcoming "Insert Coin" doc?


Q:

We cover this some in our pentesting census report, but briefly, detection is everything.

If you're able to detect the pentesters in time to actually do something about it, we'd fail on site a lot more often. Which is good news for you, the client! It means you at least have a chance of catching real intruders in the act.

The trick is hitting that balance between detecting everything that's useful, and suffering alert fatigue. You can't have a SIEM that just screams everything is broken all the time, or else your analysts will just never respond to anything.

A:

Stealing from an answer in another place, the concept behind supply-side economics is that taxes are so high, that they disincentive work, and so, while cutting them loses revenue, it gains back at least some from increased work.

So, if your taxes are cut, you earn a little bit more per hour worked, so you might work more. But, on the flip side, you might decide that you can actually work less to get the same income, so you might work less. That's the concept, and the question is behind the income effect and the substitution effect.

It's tough because most people can't dial up or down their work. I have a salaried job. I can't go to my boss and say, "Hey, I'd like to work 5% more hours, so please pay me 5% more."

At some level, this is certainly true. If you went from 100% taxation to 90% taxation, you'd probably get more work. But from 39.6% to 35%? That's less clear, and there isn't evidence to support it. We certainly didn't have kick-ass growth during the Bush 43 era, and we certainly lost a lot of revenues. It might very well have been true for Kennedy going down to 70 percent. But that top tax rate was hitting so few people, it's hard to imagine it really had a large change. Again, it depends how many people are being affected, how much their incentives are changing, how much they're able to change their work, and how much they actually do.

Reagan's own budget group, in his final year, estimated that his first round of tax cuts cut revenues by 26%. Subsequently, he raised taxes by 14%, relative to that new base.

In truth, labor is not being supplied by prime-age folks at the rate we would expect, and it's unclear why. I don't believe it's exorbitant benefits because Europe does better than we do. Here's a very long report on the decline in prime-aged male workers: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/page/files/20160620_cea_primeage_male_lfp.pdf


Q:

I can't eat cookies. But if I could, my favorite cookie would be 100% dark chocolate chips. But I can't eat chocolate either.

Ideologues assume the problems of the world are someone else's fault. Or they assume that broadscale systemic change (according to their dictates) is a prerequisite to utopia. A truly religious person tries to change him or herself, which is a more difficult and less grand task.

A:

We removed >20 animations from the game to eek into NFL approval status, but I still have a hard drive with the incorporating all of them. Haven't spoken to Josh much re the Insert Coin doc, but maybe I'll dig that up and send to him.

The moves were indeed violent. Grabbing the face mask and flinging around, kicking the player while he's down, stomping, and wrestling moves. Suplex, etc.


Q:

What can a junior in high school do to get into this profession? I've been playing with RATs (on my computers ONLY, nothing illegal), making viruses undetectable, and going through online netsec courses on cybrary. Thanks :)

A:

Wow, that was much to read and I still contend that the author does not understand what happens in the shadow economy as he calls it. How does he count the legal immigrant that collects the check and distributes cash to the five undocumented immigrants that work under him. How does he count the crews I compete against for construction work that are completely off the books. Do you think the guys in the hood answered his survey honestly?

I have really enjoyed your explanations of fiscal policy. Thanks!


Q:

Kermit doesn't eat cookies. They have a cookie monster for that.

A:

Should have just called it XFL Blitz


Q:

We don't hire pentesters who are 16ish, but we have occasionally hired high school interns for software development jobs elsewhere at Rapid7. I'd say take this time to learn programming languages, scripting languages, and throw in on some open source software projects that strike your fancy on GitHub. Getting some programming experience under your belt will pay off a ton in the long run, since you'll better understand how computers work.

A:

I'm glad you read it! That's a great point, and I couldn't tell you. All I know is that the government uses advanced statistical methodology to try to estimate and account for non-response bias, but we obviously can't tell. There's frequently no natural experiment to see how well the methods did.

I couldn't really expound beyond this because this isn't my area - I just know that the author, Jason Furman, is incredibly highly respected (and Matt Damon's freshman year roommate in undergrad) and is a person who does all he can to make sure he's not biasing data through omission.

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!


Q:

I was going to say that. But I'm glad you did instead.

A:

Midway eventually did do Blitz: The League. Way over the top using the same engine.


Q:

Lady here - I've only been going to these conferences for the past two-ish years and I'd say they're pretty inclusive. Tech conferences as a whole have been cracking the whip on shitty behavior and are extremely responsive to anyone found being violating their code of conduct. The B-sides ones are great.

The worst I've ever experienced at a conference in NYC this past October. I was at a lunch table where a guy intentionally sat down at our table (all ladies) and then proceeded to tell us how he loves to go to these conferences to pick up ladies, handed some of us his business card, and then proceeded to casually follow my friend and I until we found a conference organizer who promptly kicked him out.

A:

How do you think the cuts will affect agencies like the National Parks Service and the U.S. Forest Service?


Q:

Good evening Dr. Peterson.

  1. In a previous AMA (on youtube) you've called Frozen - and other later era Disney movies - "propaganda" - that is, only half the truth. This probably has to do with the presentation of masculine/feminine achetypes. Can you expand?

  2. How does one choose, and adhere to, transcendent values without falling into ideological possession? It seems to me both things involve service to a higher value.

Thank you!

A:

Jeff Gerstmann would get a kick out of that. You should totally ring him up.


Q:

How has the security (conference) scene changed over the years?

Ignoring the rest of the question (which /u/eccentricoldsoul handled), I think it's pretty obvious that the conferences have all gotten a lot more commercial. RSA is the new CES, Black Hat is the new RSA, and DEF CON is the new Black Hat. I don't think this is particularly bad or contentious.

That said, regional conferences are where it's at. I like THOTCon, Derby, and Infosec Southwest (the last I help run, and you should go there!).

And, THAT said, there are a billion conferences. You could go to one a week and never run out. I think it's hard to characterize them as a whole. Some are great.

A:

Well, for what it's worth, the budget will not pass. It's just an initial place the Trump administration is digging in for leverage. I still think it's hard to tell what they're going to do. Bush 43 more or less kept non-defense discretionary growing with inflation, and just boosted defense greatly.

I personally think that Democrats will shut down the government before letting the non-defense discretionary numbers go below what are called "sequestration levels" (the second caps, referenced in the first question above). But it's really tough to figure out political pressures.

Right now, the topline levels are essentially flat from FY(fiscal year) 2016 to 2017 to 2018, and that's on purpose. The two-year deal that boosted defense and non-defense for FY2016 and FY2017 gave more money in the first year than the second in order to create levels that would facilitate a future deal and make it harder to go below (Murray/Ryan did that as well): http://imgur.com/a/7j0D1

So, people who want more funding are in a good negotiating place for FY2018 funding (what Trump is proposing), but it will be harder in the future years because the blue bars will keep growing with inflation, and it's harder to get an increase than it is to keep something flat.


Q:

It depends, I suppose, on the transcendent value. I think that truth is the highest value, although it has to be embedded in love. What I mean by that is that truth should serve the highest good imaginable. For me, that is what is best for each individual, in the manner that is simultaneously best for the family, and the state, and nature itself. But you can only want that good if you love Being.

A:

Jeff is great. I'll never forget his insightful and positive review of NFL Blitz. Was most proud of his line "This game will forever change the way I perceive and review other games in the future". He really enjoyed the UX, communication to player, and fun factor.


Q:

I find security testing the most sexually pun-filled area of IT. For example: "penetrating your back-end". What are some of your favourites?

A:

Wow, thanks for such a detailed response!


Q:

How do you feel about how online communities bearing your name have understood and disseminated your ideas? What instances of your name or arguments made have you come across that you find disagreeable?

Kudos and thanks for inspiring so many buckos to sort themselves out!

A:

Absolutely. It's Jeff that turned me onto Blitz in the first place- I actually very much disliked football games in general, but hearing how crazy he was about Blitz made me give it a shot. That's a game I wish could make a comeback in a big way.

That said, despite not getting onto the Blitz train early, I played way, way too much of NBA Jam- I should have figured with your name on it, Blitz was going to be great.


Q:

I know! And it's off-putting.

Unrelated, but over at Metasploit, we have a Code of Conduct that specifically forbids "the use of sexualized language or imagery." Which helps make our project a little more welcoming, but it's easy to accidentally pun something with the language we use.

I do think that pentesting, and security in general, is absolutely loaded with very aggressive language. Terms like "attack" and "exploit" don't exactly get a lot of people into a friendly mood, and the imagery is very much centered on castles and locks and swords and other things that boys like (with few exceptions).

It's unfortunate, and I believe that the language and images that we use to describe our industry absolutely contributes to the lack of women in our industry. That, and the overt sexism and misogyny that you find in male-dominated industries.

A:

Sorry I didn't got into more detail about the two you asked, it's just that there are a lot of unknowns right now. If the topline levels are relatively flat, they might not see much cutting. It's just hard to say at this point. And the specific cuts won't come to pass in the coming year (unless the politics of the budget world change dramatically).


Q:

I don't really feel anything about such things, in a determinate sense. I'm exceptionally curious about it. It's as if I have launched a thousand messages in a thousand bottles. They drift where they will, and land where they will. I watch from a distance and see what will happen. I don't know enough yet about what any of this means to draw a conclusion.

Apart from that, I find it amazing, and absurd, and ridiculous, and embarassing. It leaves me speechless at times.

A:

Thanks! Yeah, I loved noodling with the code, animations, and results on those games! Thanks for playing both! Each appealed to an audience that wasn't a fan of the real sport, and often turned them into real fans of the sport.


Q:

1 - I read something several years ago about password policy and that decreasing pw reset times and increasing length and complexity had a sort of reverse effect because it lead to people following formula (switching characters around or increment numbers) or just being more prone to keeping them written down in unsafe places and there was a theoretical point of diminishing returns. In your experience have you found anything that supports or refutes this notion?

2 - Key fobs and phone apps providing tokens for use in authentication - is this a real solution or a placebo? Is there a struggle with increased cost and effort to the IT team replacing and resetting due to the fob or phone being lost that might be keeping some orgs from adopting this or regretting making a move to this?

A:

Do you think trickle-down economics works or would you have a middle-out approach that targets an increasing demand that leads to increasing supply?


Q:

As a clinical psychologist and an all-around wise man, what advice do you have on social anxiety?

A:

Fell in love with NFL Blitz in '99 (on the Nintendo 64 -- other controllers and later releases didn't work as perfectly as that did). Couldn't have convinced me to watch an actual NFL game if you tried.

...and now I've got the jersey, beer belly, and lost hours of productivity on Sundays.


Q:

So last question first: multifactor / two-factor authentication (MFA / 2FA) do tend to make things much harder for attackers, on a couple fronts. It means you can't just guess "Spring2017!" for all users across the site and expect to get going with your stolen credentials (without 2FA, this password will almost certainly work, btw). It also means that if you get compromised, and your user database leaked, those passwords are /slightly/ less valuable, because you still need to deal with the 2FA / MFA.

Now, in practice, 2FA / MFA is not a cure-all. They're still defeatable. But you need to work at it a little harder. For more on 2FA -- namely, who supports it -- see https://twofactorauth.org/ . I love that site. Tons.

For your first question: password management is tough. If I was king of security, I would mandate that users must use a password manager, which gives them long, unmemorable passwords full of all the character classes and maximum length. Password policies that enforce minimum lengths do tend to help overall password complexity, but that's about the only control that seems to work consistently.

If you're not a unilateral monarch (and no CISO is), then the best thing to do would be to force password expiration maybe 2x a year, have account lockouts that are human-forgiving (lockout for 30 seconds, alert for serious if the lockout is hit 10 times in a row), and keep an eye on your typical user behavior to tell when a service account is suddenly logging into all your phones when it's never done that before.

For more on passwords, I really like Mark Burnett's book. It's pretty much still the go-to for this.

A:

The concept behind supply-side economics is that taxes are so high, that they disincentive work, and so, while cutting them loses revenue, it gains back at least some from increased work.

So, if your taxes are cut, you earn a little bit more per hour worked, so you might work more. But, on the flip side, you might decide that you can actually work less to get the same income, so you might work less. That's the concept, and the question is behind the income effect and the substitution effect.

It's tough because most people can't dial up or down their work. I have a salaried job. I can't go to my boss and say, "Hey, I'd like to work 5% more hours, so please pay me 5% more."

At some level, this is certainly true. If you went from 100% taxation to 90% taxation, you'd probably get more work. But from 39.6% to 35%? That's less clear, and there isn't evidence to support it.

Reagan's own budget group, in his final year, estimated that his first round of tax cuts cut revenues by 26%. Subsequently, he raised taxes by 14%, relative to that new base.

In truth, labor is not being supplied by prime-age folks at the rate we would expect, and it's unclear why. I don't believe it's exorbitant benefits because Europe does better than we do. Here's a very long report on the decline in prime-aged male workers: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/page/files/20160620_cea_primeage_male_lfp.pdf


Q:
  1. Face it. Practice being in social situations.
  2. Concentrate on the other people. Every time you get anxious, you're falling inside yourself, and not paying attention to what is around you. Instead of worrying about how you are appearing, pay attention and try to make those around you comfortable.
  3. Listen to what people are saying, and ask them questions about it, or about themselves. Listen to their answers. They'll like you immediately. Hardly anyone listens.
A:

Love it!

Blitz 99 in the arcade was the best version!


Q:

No fear of getting their password manager info dumped?

A:

I can't get behind trickle-down economics. It seems to me they could possibly work if you remove greed from the equation, but cutting taxes on the wealthy does nothing at all to my situation (below poverty level) and my boss just got a bit richer. A small business owner who needs seven employees to do her work is going to keep seven employees on the payroll no matter what rate her taxes are taken. Eight would just be too many, and if she can get away with paying minimum wage she certainly will.

Apple, admittedly an extreme example, has $246 billion cash on hand and 115,000 employees worldwide, yet they went to court last year over $2 million in unpaid wages for not allowing Apple store employees to take meal a rest breaks. They ultimately lost that case. Changing their tax rate will not result in higher wages, nor will it result in more people being hired. It will only result in further enriching the wealthy.


Q:

Dr. Peterson,

I am wondering how you typically address motivational issues that stem from chronic depression. Is there a real answer on how to create meaning, enthusiasm, and inspiration in your life in spite of the apathy and numbness that comes from depression, or is this a simple matter of biting the bullet and getting things done through diligence and willpower and hoping everything else will fall into place?

And a follow up: How do you feel about using psychedelic drugs (psilocybin mushrooms in particular) for introspective purposes in order to get a leg up on depression?

A:

Was there any way that Midway could've survived the 2000s, when arcades were vanishing and phones weren't yet strong enough to play arcade-style games? I feel like Midway could've been a powerhouse in the mobile market of the early 2010s, but it seems like in the years prior there wasn't really a market for the types of smaller pick up and play arcadey games that Midway was known for.

Bonus question: Is Dave Lang the coolest dude of all time?


Q:

Password managers mean that you are keeping all your passwords in one basket, so you better protect that basket.

But, I'd say, for most people, using a password manager is way less risky than reusing the same 3-5 passwords they use on every site they ever encounter.

The password manager I use is usually offline, and lives on my (phyiscal) keychain. It's encrypted with a fairly decent password, which I do have to remember in my head.

It also means that I don't get to use it with my phone (if I had it on my phone, it'd be online all the time). But, for that case, I tend to have long-lived sessions terminated on a phyiscal device that has full disk encryption, near my body pretty much all the time. Or, in a pinch, I can do a password reset via my e-mail.

A:

Supply-side is theoretically on the individual rather than business side. Conservatives will make the argument that cutting corporate taxes is good for workers because they say that economics says that any tax on corporations is ultimately borne by workers or consumers (it does say this), but I've never been sold on that because if it were true that it were 100% borne by other folks, I don't think they'd actually argue so vehemently for lower rates.

But yes, changing the after-profit tax rate isn't going to suddenly create more demand for extra workers. That is absolutely correct. And they already got to write off that extra worker's salary for purposes of taxes anyway, so the argument extra doesn't fly.


Q:

The depression question is a very difficult one to answer. It requires careful diagnostic interviewing. I would ask, first, what have you tried to treat your depression? I would never say that mere "biting the bullet" is sufficient, although maintaining what structure you can in your life despite your pain and immobility is generally for the best.

A:

Love Dave Lang! Super fun and talented.

Midway totally could have survived if they'd focused efforts on console sooner and not wasted tons of money on some early console efforts. For sure coin-op would have gone away as key rev driver.

And you're right about mobile. The arcade lessons and approach perfectly match the mobile business of today. Micro-transactions, quick pick up and east to play, but with some depth for experienced users.


Q:

Did you read 2600?

A:

How would you incentivize the private sector to invest more in job training, like Trump seems to want. And do you think Trump will do what needs to be done to make this happen?


Q:

What concepts of Nietzsche's writings are the most important or useful to your thinking?

A:

Thanks a ton for answering. I really respect Lang and Johnny Vignocci and Adam Boyes and have heard them speak extremely highly of you on the Giant Bombcast, so in my mind you're like some super next level John Romero-style industry veteran. It's really cool to see you doing an AMA.


Q:

I did! I was at the first 2600 meeting in San Francisco, at the... Montgomery Street? BART station. It was all pay phones, and no laptops allowed. Pretty much exactly like a Cory Doctorow book.

A:

Businesses try to maximize the net present value of their profit, discounted to infinity (or at least the life of the current heads of the company). That is, they try to get as much profit over the period they care about. Currently, they do job training if they think it's helpful/if they need to (because there's a supply shortage, as during the dot com boom, rather than a demand shortage). A government policy that focused on that would be in changing the profit margins and thus the incentives for them. But we already let companies write off training and salaries as a business expense, so that's not it. We could pay them to do it! But then why not directly do it? The government actually has plenty of jobs training programs. Unfortunately, Trump's budget proposed to cut some of them. So, I'd be surprised, but you never know. We'll get more detail about all of his priorities in the bigger budget in May, which will go line by line through every account in the federal budget.


Q:

Last answer: Nietzsche's realization that the death of God would necessitate the utter collapse of Western values.

A:

Romero was one step behind me back in the early days trying to figure out the Apple 2. He's a great guy. I actually found a fan letter he'd sent to me before he got his first job in the industry. Funny.

I hired JV and gave him lots of rope to do stuff. He's still a great friend today.


Q:

Whats your favorite hardware? Whats your favorite operating system? Whats your favorite web browser? Whats the pay like? Are you guys able to do any of the stuff we've seen in the Wikileaks Vault 7 year 0 leaks?

A:

In your view, what are the biggest levers the government can pull to affect 1) spending and 2) tax revenue?

For example, while there is much focus on automobile standards for mpg capabilities, the majority of gasoline is used in industry, specifically by giant tanker ships. Are there any particular taxes that if changed would have a bigger impact on the budgets than the topics people commonly discuss?


Q:

You mentioned the current ideological war sitting atop the philosophical war, which may itself be atop a metaphysical, or theological war. Could this metaphysical war be contextualized as occurring within the psyche of all individuals? Like an ecosystem of archetypes or "egregores", nourished by the genetics and culture of the person in question in order to project themselves (the archetypes) through unconscious agencies in our brains? These archetypal thought-forms seem to make up the philosophical conflict at its deepest level. This model is a bit far-out, but seems to map very neatly onto the psychedelic experience, which demonstrates that you as a person are not "doing living", you are in a sense "being lived through" by some abstract life force outside yourself. Is your interpretation similar?

A:

Johnny V is a god damn treasure.

I actually found a fan letter he'd sent to me before he got his first job in the industry.

That is awesome.


Q:

The Vault7 stuff looked awfully familiar. I wrote a blog post about it. TLDR: Working at the CIA is pretty much an identical experience as working on Metasploit.

A:

For taxes, the more money touched, the easier. So, consumption taxes hit everyone, and make a lot of money, but they're regressive. The raising just the top bracket will get less, but it's progressive. FWIW, we have a much more progressive tax system than most European countries, but a much, much less progressive benefit system (on net, thus being less progressive). A lot of European countries make a lot through consumption taxes and then much higher income taxes on poorer folks than we have, but then give out a lot more in benefits. That's not necessarily a bad way to do it, but people should just be aware of the politics of it.

For spending, half of our budget is just Social Security and health care, and another 16% is the military. http://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/policy-basics-where-do-our-federal-tax-dollars-go

But in truth, it's a much tougher question because, excluding interest, health and Social Security are growing, and the group of "everything else" is shrinking: http://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/program-spending-as-a-percent-of-gdp-historically-low-outside-social

So that poses a tough question. You can only cut the shrinking parts so much. Do you think we're currently spending the right amount per person with respect to health and Social Security? If yes, then you have to support more spending in the future because those, even outside of demographically-adjusted "excess cost growth," are set to grow for demographic reasons. If no (and you think we're spending too much), then those are the places to hit because they're the biggest.


Q:

You would be interested in learning more about CG Jung's idea of the pleroma, which is roughly the meta-space inhabit by archetypes. If you can imagine ideas battling with one another across the centuries, and then posit a meta-space in which that battle is occurring, then you have conceptualized, to some degree, the pleroma.

A:

Yeah, I had JV working the soundtrack for NBA Ballers, and he was pulling out all sorts of talent. He walked in with Akon once, but the NBA rejected him.

JV connected with a pimp or two to get the right contacts!


Q:

This might be too broad of a topic but Ill give it a go anyways...

I contend that a representative govt. is almost inherently dysfunctional (to a degree) due to shifts in policy that occur every few years. Imagine a company that changes positions/focus/CEOs on a dime every few years. How can government programs succeed if down the line they get changed, reduced funding etc.?

Have you seen this happen to a significant degree or am I making too big a deal about it?

A:

Doctor Peterson, I have watched many of your lectures and videos, and I find your material to be excellent, encouraging and should be shared as much as possible. However, from a philosophical perspective, why do you believe that what you're teaching is correct? What proof do we, as students, have? Further, as you gain more and more popularity, support and admirers, do you feel at risk of becoming a demagogue of your own ideas, or a self-absorbed "prophet"? It's an archetype that is prevalent throughout history.


Q:

I remember he once told a story where he gave one of the cover athletes of Ballers a PSP memory card filled with porn because the dude asked for one.

A:

I think that's certainly a very real thing, and bigger the bigger the issue is. For instance, we just that the Obamacare exchanges signed up fewer people this year than the previous year, which is the first time that has happened. It was the difference between the Obama administration pushing very hard to sign people up, and the Trump administration did not do anything. But we can see even more in enforcement of regulations. During the Bush administration, the Department of Labor scaled back on most activities, except for union busting.

I think it's pretty clear that having a single-party system would be more efficient in that changes would be done not for political reasons, there wouldn't be whipsawing of markets (as might happen with the health market - there's a reason some parts of Obamacare are still being phased in 7 years later), and there would be no one working to undermine laws. But I'm not really sure how to get around that, except with less frequent elections. And we don't want to make it toooo hard to pass laws.


Q:

It depends on what you mean by "teaching" and "correct." I certainly do not think that I am providing any final answers. But I think I am correct in the manner that I teach. When I lecture, I am not saying what I believe to be the case but thinking on my feet, trying to extend and clarify my knowledge while also communicating. To the degree that I do that properly, I am modeling how to learn -- how to become wise. To the degree that I do that properly, what I am doing is "correct."

The danger of become your own imitator is clear. I think I would be more prone to becoming a demagogue if I wanted to be a demagogue -- if I wanted power of that sort. I don't. I could have had a successful political career, and people still call on me to do so. But I am more interested in sorting things out and helping other people do the same thing. I know there is danger in popularity. I try not to confuse myself with who people think I am or might be. I try not to make a fatal mistake and consider it a miracle currently that the house is not falling apart in pieces around me. I am grateful that people find what I am doing useful. That's what I was hoping for. Hopefully the monster that is forming around me -- so to speak -- won't eat me.

A:

Yeah - i think Aerosmith requested porn mags when they came into Midway for a shoot too!


Q:

I'm curious about your thoughts on income inequality. Do you believe it is a threat to the US and Canada's economies? Thanks for doing this AMA especially with the political climate!

A:

Hello, Dr. Peterson,

How would you define your God? Do you believe in the supernatural? Do you pray?

Thank you


Q:

Frostbite is criminally under-accoladed.

A:

I don't personally like deep income inequality, but I don't think it's really a threat to economies that much. One thing that is pretty destabilizing is if more and more of the nation's income is through capital rather than through labor. Labor is a lot more reliable than capital, and so huge capital can allow for bigger recessions. In that sense, yes, but I don't think inequality itself is an inherent threat to the economy.

That said, interesting work from the staff of the IMF (of all places) seems to be making the case that high income inequality actually leads to lower growth (for ages, the construction was always "how much are you willing to impact growth to fight inequality?") https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2014/sdn1402.pdf

This actually makes some intuitive sense if you think about it. The more people that can actually buy stuff, the stronger the economy is. If you had an economy with 10 people, and 9 were destitute with 1 insanely rich, the rich person wouldn't need to be buying 10 microwaves. But spread that out, and you have more stuff bought.

Poorer folks have a higher propensity to spend, which is (a reason) why stimulus bills most target poorer folks. There's more money directly put right back into the economy.

But the conservative response would be, "Yeah, but the richer people invest, and that's worth all the growth." And that's why for ages the construction was always inequality versus growth. I've never bought that argument, but I'm not an economist. But we have evidence that that's likely not the case, so I guess there's that.

And, of course! It was actually what's been happening recently that finally pushed me too, along with a friend prodding me, haha.


Q:

My God is the spirit that is trying to elevate Being. My God is the spirit that makes everything come together. My God is the spirit that makes order out of chaos and then recasts order when it has become too limiting. My God is the spirit of truth incarnate.

None of that is supernatural. It is instead what is most real.

It depends on what you mean by pray.

I don't ask God for favors, if that's what you mean.

A:

Agree - Steve Cartwright masterpiece.


Q:

Does a "stimulus bill" actually stimulate? If so, for how long and how far does it reach? Do all sectors get a boost or just some?

A:

Dr. Peterson, are there ever moments where one should lie? Or is it best to sometimes say, "I'd rather not discuss that" than to lie?


Q:

Is there one game you keep coming back to all these years? Even if it's one you created?

A:

The idea behind a stimulus bill is that, given a shortfall in demand, it will be temporarily plugged by a commensurate increase in government spending.

The government already has a bunch of what are called "automatic stabilizers." Check out figure 4 on the second to last page: https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/workingpaper/51005-AutomaticStabilizers.pdf

These come from means-tested entitlement programs, i.e., entitlement programs that spend based on a formula, rather than a set amount determined each year, where your eligibility is based on your income. An example is Medicaid. If you lose your job and your income, you automatically become eligible. Another is unemployment insurance. (I'm happy to give more if you're curious). So, in a recession, lots of people lose their jobs, and the government automatically spends more. At the same time, because we have a progressive income tax, people pay less of their income in taxes, so they have more to spend. And in the extreme example, we give money through the tax code in refundable tax credits (the Obama stimulus bill created some of these and expanded some other ones).

As you can see from the picture, it deepened the deficit in bad times, and made it smaller in good times.

The point of a stimulus bill is to do more. So, well-targeted stimulus bills work. Ones that don't lead to more spending don't.

This isn't to say that investment isn't great, but it's not the purpose of a stimulus bill. The only way investment in a stimulus bill is "right" is if there's immediate hiring and building. This, by the way, is why all those infrastructure investment reports in 2010 showed as many jobs as they did.


Q:

"I'd rather not discuss that" is a good way to not lie. You also aren't required to break confidence or reveal anything private. Telling the truth (or not lying) is complicated.

To tell the truth you have to have decided that (1) that truth will in fact save the world and (2) that the world is in fact worth saving.

A:

Easy question! My favorite game of all time is Robotron 2084. I joined Williams Electronics Midway specifically to revive the dual joysticks of that game. That game still holds up today.


Q:

Does a "stimulus bill" actually stimulate? If so, for how long and how far does it reach? Do all sectors get a boost or just some?

A:

How can I learn to raise my children properly or wisely? What books or lectures are useful?


Q:

I'm so happy that most barcades popping up nowadays almost always have a Robotron 2084 to play. That is one of my favorite fast paced classics.

A:

Haha, thank you!


Q:

In my new book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos I have a chapter called "Don't let your children do anything that makes you dislike them." It will be available in January.

In the meantime, that's a good thing to know. Don't pretend with your children. Don't let them to things that are humiliating to you (or to them). If you don't like them, neither will anyone else. That's a start.

A:

It holds up for sure! 255 levels of gameplay. Can set the difficulty up to 10, and best players can reach 255. Perfect tuning.


Q:

Thank you, I understand that now.

A:

Dr. Peterson, huge fan, been binging on your lectures for a while. What is your opinion on pornography, and masturbation in general? A lot of your supporters are also members of the /r/nofap community that completely obstain from masturbation, as they see it as a part of sorting themselves out and becoming the best human being they can be. Just curious.

Also, if you, or anyone else is interested, there is a discord chat server dedicated to discussion you and your works, you can join with this link: https://discord.gg/RB5c5Bg


Q:

Do you think Ken and Roberta Williams get their due? Where do you see Sierra's place in the history of games?

A:

Happy to clear that up - sorry I skipped too many words before!


Q:

I think that pornography entices people away from life. So that's not good. It's a quick, easy, low quality solution to a complex problem. I can't see its use as something that increases integrity and promotes strength.

A:

They were innovators and risk takers. Passionate about their craft! They have a solid and deserved place in history I believe.


Q:

what is your biggest concern about Trump's budget?

A:

Should every aspect of one's life promote strength? Is there room for weak indulgences?


Q:

how would you design a next generation game system to fix the growing latency/lag between button press and screen response?

A:

From a conceptual standpoint, it's the deep cuts to and sometimes elimination of programs that keep people out of poverty, like LIHEAP and housing programs (and of course all the programs that he didn't mention which would be due for an average cut of roughly 15%). But because it won't pass, the actual worry is that I think it sets the beginning negotiations in a really tough spot.


Q:

I think there's room for indulgence, that I don't think that that's the same as saying that there's room for weak indulgence. Why do something if it makes you weak? Unless you wish to be weak...

A:

Love this question. I HATE latency in any form. Unfortunately I think wired control is only safe option.


Q:

Which do you think causes more problems. How much money is spent or how that money is spent?

A:

Doctor, you know your wife for a long time. At some point you decided to always speak the truth.

The question is: did you tell your wife about the decision at once, or after some time?


Q:

would an integrated system like Switch be able to reduce latency at least while in portable mode, or are there still disadvantages to using LCD vs CRT?

A:

Well, I approve of spending money on things that I like, so I'll definitely pick the latter. Obviously there's an upper limit - the nation can't spend more than all of it's possible income. But the US is a low-tax and low-spending nation, compared to other economically advanced countries. We could do less, but we could also do a huge amount more without even getting to the average among economically advanced countries.


Q:

We knew each other as children. When we met up again as young adults, I talked to her about this decision right away. She decided that she would do the same thing, and as far as I can tell, she always has. I trust her as much as it is possible to trust anyone.

A:

Portable mode on twitch is fine. Screens refresh fast enough so that's not the issue. It's controller latency that is bad, and any slow down/bog in the engine that is bad. Which make the controller less responsive.


Q:

Good answer, Thanks.

Follow up. Q: How do you account for value when priming the spending pumps at the center of an economy the size of the US?

A:

Dr. Peterson, like many I find your analysis on creation myths fascinating. Do you have any similar thoughts regarding end-time myths like Revelations? Thank you


Q:

There is also the fact that modern TVs do an insane amount of processing, even in Game Mode, adding sometimes a ton of input lag (depending on the TV).

A:

Thanks! How do I personally, or how does the US government?


Q:

Revelation is, in my opinion, the first-person account of an experience with hallucinogenic mushrooms.

A:

Yeah right - you have to be careful on TV selection indeed, but less and less of an issue with latest crop.


Q:

Personally. When writing the follow up report. What are the success markers?

A:

Is this coming from experience as someone who has experimented with hallucinogenic mushrooms (or other psychedelics)?

Can a mystical psychedelic trip be akin to the descent into chaos/the unknown with the potential of finding truth and then coming out the other side at a place of higher order?


Q:

NFL Blitz 2000 Gold coin-op $50 bets, shutouts paid double. Pretty sure I won that year long competition. That's what you recall too?

A:

It really depends on why we're spending the money. Just yesterday, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney was talking about the success of nutrition programs and said (incorrectly) that after-school nutrition programs weren't helping performance, and so they were failing. But sometimes we just give people food so they don't starve.

And, in fact, the government is often an entity that deliberately makes low-return investments. Roads and bridges between major areas don't need government funding to happen. But that bridge connecting those 50 people with the rest of society? That's something big. To use the Post Office as an example, NYC could run it its own independent, NYC-only post office, and stamps would be cheaper. But we have a national rate, even if you're going to Alaska. Think of how much it would cost to send stamps between places in Alaska if we had a localized stamp rate.

Anyway, this is all a long way of saying that it depends on the project. If the goal of something is to stimulate the economy, that's what you look at. If the goal is to improve test scores, that's what you look at. If the goal is to help people get jobs, that's what you look for. If the goal is just to help make people's lives less miserable, that's what you look for.

Anti-poverty programs are pretty big for me, so I assess how many people they're keeping out of poverty. I assess how much they close the poverty gap for each dollar spent.


Q:

It's not akin to it. It is precisely that.

A:

Doh! Actually, I do admit to losing that! Disaster.

A shame we never got the Hot Spot NBA Showtime gambling mini game out into the marketplace! That worked great!


Q:

Personally. When writing the follow up report. What are the success markers?

A:

Dear Dr. Peterson,

In my literature of the mind class we are beginning a discussion on fairy tales. The first question we were confronted with was "are fairy tales misogynistic?" The majority of the class responded in the affirmative, citing the frequent depiction of women in a helpless or lower stance compare to the man. I responded in the negative, with several claims as to the great goals of different stories. My question to you is: are fairy tales misogynist? And if so, should authors restructure these tales to reflect different, arguably more contemporary structures of society? Thank you very much.


Q:

Stupid question from someone that spent way too many quarters back in the day:

What happened to your hair?

A:

I realized I misread your question! This has to be a priorities question, I think, and not one that budget wonks hold a special answer to. Economists will give one answer, and there are certainly programs that economists will agree make sense (automatic stabilizers and stimulus spending - see here: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/5zzssm/i_am_a_federal_budget_analyst_with_a_focus_in/df2ghlv/). But there's no reason that our government's goal should be maximizing economic growth at all costs. The point of growth is for that to translate into utility for people. There's no point of growing if people don't get to reap the benefits. So what about the programs that don't really help growth, but we consider necessary for civilization, like parks and some elements of the arts? So, this is why I think this ultimately becomes a values question.


Q:

Don't discuss the deeper meaning of literature with people whose primary concern is whether or not the literature in question conforms to this week's obsession with identity politics.

That's the correct answer to your question.

Authors should leave stories they didn't write alone and go write their own classics -- if they can. Some fairy tales are ten thousand years old. Anyone who thinks they can write something for the ages is welcome to try.

A:

My hair! I was crazy. Had the big Robert Plant thing going on. One day someone said I'd look younger if I cut my hair - I looked around at other guys with long hair and said "ugh - you're right". And whacked it off!


Q:

How would one get into your line of work? Are you hiring any interns or entry level positions for newly grads?

A:

What five books have been most influential to how you view the world today?


Q:

Hey Mark - Long time fan here. I'm wondering why you never did a "got robbed" quest in Cafe World? Really feel like that is the one thing the franchise lacked. Does that keep you up at night?

A:

Do you mean politics specifically, or the federal budget world?


Q:

Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment Solzhenitsyn Gulag Archipelago CG Jung Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious Jeffrey Gray Neuropsychology of Anxiety Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil

A:

Doh! Hey - that idea would have totally worked and exactly what the product needed. Seriously. And you know it too.


Q:

Dead serious....where does the money go. They keep saying the US is the richest country in the world but everything seems to be old and falling apart. I am an average person and the government takes a good chunk of money out of my paychecks but I can't see the effect it has or where it seems to magicially vanish too.

Also how corrupt is the government in your opinion?

A:

Hello Dr. Peterson,

Two questions if I may:

If Jesus is the archetypal hero, whom which there is no person more heroic, then who is the antithesis? This question stems from my having read just a chapter into M.o.M and derived it from the concept of existence as a forum for action. Should the historical Jesus have actually acted as the most-hero, then I imagine the most-villain must also exist to act out the part.

Edit: DO you believe this antithesis will manifest itself as Jesus may have?

2nd question: Is Jesus Lord?

Thank you for your time


Q:

what is the weirdest copy protection scheme you've seen; also are there any easter eggs you know of in games that have not been discovered yet?

A:

By corrupt, do you mean, like as a kleptocracy? Or just wasteful?

On where our tax dollars go, I'd start with this: http://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/policy-basics-where-do-our-federal-tax-dollars-go

Half of our spending goes to Social Security and health care. Another 24 percent goes to military and vets. That's 75% right there, so if you like those things, I think it's harder to think of it as largely a waste? Another 6% is interest, which we have to pay, and another 10% is other social safety net, which leaves approximately 11% on all else.

The US has a lot of money that the federal government doesn't touch. Among economically advanced countries, we are a low-tax, low-spending country (by a lot).

I'd also say that a lot of times we don't see the effects of government. Do we see it when the Consumer Product Safety Commission makes a dangerous product illegal, and then we don't die? Or do we just notice it when the government isn't doing it's job and things go wrong? Do we see it when the USDA successfully keeps us from getting poisoned? So, I think the idea of government use is harder when talking about the remaining bit of the budget.


Q:

Satan.

And it depends on how you define "Lord."

Archetypally? By definition. Hence the mythologizing of the historical figure.

A:

Not sure about copy protection - and it's tough on Easter Eggs now a days! When Jam came out, people would post usenet pages onto sides of cabinets, because rarely did anyone have access. Not today.


Q:

Is social security fixable for my generation (born 1990's)? If so, how? If not, why not?

A:

Is Joseph Campbell underrated or overrated? Why?


Q:

What was your favorite platform/language to develop in? What is your development philosophy (TDD, MVC etc.)?

A:

Great question! Social Security indeed is projected to have a net liability, with the Trust Fund running out of money in 2034 (if you trust the SSA actuaries, or a little sooner if you think CBO is more correct). After that, it will begin to pay out money only as it takes it in, which would be roughly a 25% cut in benefits. So, it's definitely not going away, but due to demographic issues, unless changed, all of our benefits will be significantly lower than they would be if we don't do anything.

There are four options for dealing with it: 1) Raise taxes and put them into the SS Trust Fund 2) Cut benefits (but that's the same as letting them get automatically cut) 3) Some combination of 1 and 2 4) Dump money from the General Fund (all of our other taxes) into the SS Trust Fund, and pay benefits through deficits.

The fifth option is magic unicorn growth.

Point four might seem like a trick to you, but it's a real option. Many times when we've had to plug the Highway Trust Fund (due to issues about how we wrote the gas tax, which pays for the Highway Trust Fund and the LUST Trust Fund (fun name)), we just transferred money into it. Section 257(a) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 tells CBO to create the baseline to assume that all obligations can be met. What this means is that, even if Social Security were to be projected run out of money in the baseline, CBO would project the Trust Fund to pay out benefits as if it had all the money. CBO projects this in the creation of its deficits, off of which all estimates of how much things cost are based. In other words, deficits are projected to be "artificially high" because they assume we're already going to pay out all of our SS and Medicare benefits. That's why the statement "We're running out of money because of SS" and "We can't afford to pay SS benefits because we're running out of money" are incompatible.

So, what this means is that, deficits already assume we're spending that money, and so a bill that instructs the Treasury to put money into the SS Trust Fund is actually costless, relative to the deficits already assumed. This means there's not budget point of order against that. What's more, it means that CBO will call anything less than that a benefit cut relative to baseline assumptions. This means that the politics are even more strongly in favor of Social Security than they might otherwise be.

I do not necessarily think it's too unlikely benefits will be cut some, but, again, at max they're being cut around 25%. And I think it's entirely possible that there are no cuts when the time comes around.


Q:

Hey was a very effective popularizer of Jung's ideas. Over-rated, if considered as the original source, which he was most definitely not. Under-rated, as effective popularization is extraordinarily difficult.

A:

I actually preferred programming and debugging in assembly language because I knew the performance would be optimal, to slam as many things onto the playfield as possible, and was simpler knowing there weren't other threads occurring with black box code chipping away and causing problems. Those days are over of course, by I still love/prefer those days. I also liked fact that most other developers weren't taking advantage of the hardware as well as Assembly programmers could/were.

As for dev philosophy - I'm working with one of the best Producers in the business at Zynga San Diego - Carlos Barbosa - and his philosophy was largely hones at EA - so we have 1 pagers for new features, collaborative discussion with all disciplines, estimate overall effort required, and then try to Engineer mock up the feature (gameplay or otherwise) without much art, and have artists create real art as mock is materializing. Designer, Artist, Engineers working closely. TDD's aren't needed on majority of features we do.

The key is Production allows for iteration, as that is where the best games and features derive from.


Q:

Wow, thank you for the detailed answer. Even if I don't enter economics as a career, I think I'll always be interested in these kinds of issues. I've heard often about how military spending is too big, but I don't think I've ever heard about arguments for the other side beyond "cause 'murica," so these insights are helpful!

A:

Thank you for doing this AMA! Can you go into detail about what you find objectionable about moral relativism? Secondly, can you describe how you see post-modernism and what its biggest faults are? Thank you!


Q:

Oh man, I spent countless hours playing NFL Blitz and NBA JAM!

Could you ever have predicted how far games have come in the past 20+ years? How do you feel about the roadmap for the future of gaming?

A:

Well, for what it's worth, I think that if you're at the point of defending a government program based solely on the job it creates employing, you're losing the argument. But that's a real thing, and that's part of the real political difficulty in cutting anything, but particularly the military (because members of the military are not viewed as simple bureaucrats).

It's just to say that there's no cut that doesn't have an immediate impact on real human beings.

I did not mean to dissuade you from economics, and I'm sorry if it came off that way. I frequently wish I had more of a background in economics and often consider doing a one-year Masters in Economics program. I just meant to say that it's difficult and sometimes quite competitive.


Q:

I believe in the existence of evil.

Postmodernists notice the complex problem of the ever-present subjective interpretive framework and then, instead of facing the problem squarely, assume that there is no world. They take the easy way out, intellectually. Then second-rate intellects hijack their work to justify their refusal to take responsibility as individuals.

A:

Yeah, a game like NBA Jam was made by a handful of people and made a Billion dollars, and now it takes 100's, across many disciplines, to make a top selling console title. Team sizes have expanded way beyond my dreams. We're destined to mirror film business - big budget blockbusters, and independent smaller projects that can also breakthrough. The future of social and connected play is huge. Still in infancy!


Q:

Oh, don't worry! At this point, my viewpoint is "explore everything and probably change my major 30000 times" so don't worry. Again, thank you so much for the detailed responses. This AMA is the most nerdy fun I've had in awhile.

A:

90% Male - 10% Female visit your You Tube videos. What type of female do you think make up that 10%?


Q:

Hi Mark, have you seen Mutant League Football remake? It looks so much like Blitz!

A:

Haha, fair enough! And of course - I'm glad you found them useful! :)


Q:

Amazing, beautiful accomplished women with impeccable taste in lecturers.

A:

I haven't seen yet, but aware. Anxious to look and play. I know the folks were super passionate, even when I was at EA 6-7 eyars ago in seeing the game revived. Definitely a fan base out there.


Q:

Looking at current projections, where could you see the debt going to in the next four years?

Following the cuts of the EPA there were heavy opposing cries from citizens, how do the cuts of the EPA contribute positively to the government?

Was the amount of money cut really worth it?

A:

What is your opinion on climate change?


Q:

You made sneakers huh? Probably the first ever game I played on my Great Aunt's Apple II! I still play it on Archive.org.

Anyway, I'm wondering if you have any secrets with Activistion games for Atari 2600? Any Easter Eggs, special hints? My second system! Hope you had a good Birthday on March 22nd, a few days back. I know that thanks to a Game Pro for NBA Jam!

A:

Debt net of financial assets as a percent of GDP is projected to reach 68.2% by the end of fiscal year 2017 (which ends September 30th). By the end of FY2021, it is projected to have increased very slightly to 70.7%, after which it is projected to increase a bit more rapidly, hitting 80.5% by the end of FY2027.

These projects assume now changes to current policies - that programs that need to be reauthorized are reauthorized in the same way, that we fund discretionary appropriations at sequestration levels and adjusting for inflation afterwards, and that existing permanent programs continue to work in the way they're currently set up. This also assumes no recession.

FWIW, the EPA policy is just a request from the administration, as opposed to a cut that's been enacted. Right now, Congress hasn't agreed to the overall amount of spending they want to happen next year. After that, it will need to agree to how much spending happens on the non-defense side. After that, the budget committees will file levels setting a maximum amount of spending for each appropriations subcommittee, and after that, the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the EPA will write a bill with funding for the EPA. If Congress agrees to that, and Trump does, only then will we know the level.

I would be very surprised if cuts even close to that deep come to fruition - among other things, because I would be immensely surprised if the 10ish% cut overall to non-defense happens. This just sets to starting point for discussions.


Q:

I'm Canadian. Anything that makes winter warmer is fine by me.

Seriously: We'll solve it before it gets dangerous, to the degree that it's man-made. Assuming we don't let everything go to hell in a handbasket first.

A:

Yes, Sneakers was my first game. And it was a pretty big hit and as other games were doing back in the day, it broke new ground in terms of what the Apple 2 could deliver visually, etc.

Not sure of any Atari 2600 Easter Eggs still floating around, but that was a great system to make games for. Super fun even with 128 bytes of RAM!

Thanks for the birthday greetings! I should have done the AMA on 0322 to match my MJT code perhaps!


Q:

Super late to the AMA, but are there any good books you recommend? Preferably in line with the topic at hand. Great answers, by the way!

A:

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this! It is a real joy for many here. :)

i) I recently had the either revelation or strong illusion that my personal character was in such disarray, it was truly beyond repair. I simply have too many deeply seeded and complicated bad "habits", ill call them, and they have affected my surroundings in so many ways, that i couldnt even hope to ever identify them all, let alone fix them. What are we to do when we find ourselves in this situation? Practically speaking

1) Can you comment on the inversion of the Judeo-Christian myth, espoused by Satanists and various esoteric groups, where God is depicted as an Evil Tyrant/Demiurge, and Satan the great emancipator, who gave us free will via the tree of knowledge?

2) When someone "accepts Christ into their heart" (in conjunction with the beleif that Jesus was a historical figure who was also God, rose from the dead, and has personal relationship with them), what is really taking place?

3) How can we best protect our future chldren from post modernism, without being overprotective?


Q:

i always assumed the little shooting guy in Sneakers looked like a penis with arms by accident. what were you really going for?

A:

Haha, that's an important caveat, or else we could have gone off in all sorts of different directions. I'm glad you've enjoyed it!

Stan Collender has a guide to the federal budget that's really quite excellent. Unfortunately, it was last updated I think in the year 2000, so some things are a little dated. https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Federal-Budget-Stanley-Collender/dp/0847684032

This CRS report by Bill Heniff is absolutely worth reading, although it's pretty dense: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/98-721.pdf

The tough thing about the federal budget is that there really are very few instruction manuals. A lot of the knowledge is passed through word of mouth and direct teaching. As I mentioned in other places, the budget world is very, very small, and much of it is very technical, and so there isn't quite as much content put out for non-budget folks.


Q:

It is very frequently the case that someone's personal character is in terrible disarray. That's what Jung described when he discussed the confrontation with the shadow side of the psyche. It's no laughing matter. It's a terrible realization.

Start by fixing the things about yourself that you can fix. Pick the low-hanging fruit. Even if you can't put yourself back together completely, you might be able to generate a functional wreck out of the pieces. That's better than nothing.

It's also the case that improvement begets improvement. So even if you are in a deep hole, you might be able to escape faster than you think, if you are willing to let go of the things that are holding you down.

Dig up, stupid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b97zJxKEqAk

A:

Funny. No, just programmer art! Was trying to make a creature with tennis shoes on and stomping up and down.


Q:

My understanding is that before Trump's budget proposal, the USA already spends over $500 billion on the military alone.

What is the military going to do with an extra 60 billion?

A:

Hey Jordan.

One of my favourite topics that you cover is your interpretation of the story of Cain & Abel. You’ve said that: “Before a creature becomes self-conscious there is no distinction between good and evil... With the dawning of self-consciousness, there seems to be the emergence of a moral sense that’s essentially unique to human beings.”

You’ve referenced in another video the phenomenon of wolves exhibiting something to the effect of mercy when an alpha ‘defeats’ a wolf that contests his position as the pack leader. Do you think that what appears to be this sort of ‘moral compass’ in wolf culture is then an emergent property of self-consciousness? Or, perhaps, something more like proto-rationality? Neither? What do you think this phenomenon says about human morality considering we often attribute our morality to our rationality (perhaps incorrectly)?


Q:

Buddy! How fun has it been to watch the growth of video games over the years from text adventures to VR?

Oh, and how much money did you spend in the arcades as a kid? I'm guessing a ton.

A:

The specifics of where it would go aren't fully detailed, but there are always more projects that could be funded. There's always more R&D that could happen, and there are always more people we could hire. Allegedly there's a readiness gap, wherein the military feels that if we needed to deploy tens of thousands of troops immediately for a massive ground assault, folks aren't properly trained. And so funding would theoretically go towards that. And of course, higher pay is more competitive and can attract better people.

But, yes, this is a rhetorical gesture. You can tell because of how non-specific most of the DOD section in here on pages 21 and 22 of the PDF (15 and 16 of the report): https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf


Q:

I think it is a behavioral proto-morality. The wolves act "as if" they recognize each others' value. But they are not following a rule, or abiding by a principle. They are manifesting a behavioral regularity. It is in the observation of such regularities, within their own species, that human beings have "discovered" morality proper (and were therefore able to represent that morality in story and with lists of rules).

It is a great mistake to assume that morality was derived from rationality. It built itself from the bottom up over hundreds of millions of years. Rationality played its part, but certainly did not serve as the fundamental source.

A:

I spent a ton of quarters on Breakout, Gorf, Scramble, and Asteroids!

It's been amazing to watch the industry change. I love the process of making games, but the principles are still the same as they were almost 30 years ago.


Q:

Since we have a debt based currency, over the long run will we have to continually grow the debt to sustain the currency?

A:

Dr. Peterson,

Thanks so much for doing this AMA! I came across you on Joe Rogan's podcast, and when you started talking about myth and religion, really caught my attention! I've been listening through some of your lectures, and enjoying them a ton. That said, here's my questions:

1) What are your thoughts on the Blanchard's taxonomy of transsexualism? Additionally, what do you think, clinically, is the best way of treating people with sexual dysphoria?

2) What do you think about performing religious ritual on a regular basis; i.e. prayers, Eucharist, fasting, following a certain calendar, etc... Does you think think these are similar to myth in being a source of Truth for us, or are they too institutionalized and too recent a creation in human history to be worth much?

3) A bit personal, but if you're interested; are you a part of a church or Christian community? I'd imagine your unorthodox views might make it difficult to be part of one. Does you see value in going to a church regularly?


Q:

Defender, Space Invaders, Crystal Castles, Zaxxon, and too many more to even remember.

A:

I'm sorry, I wish I knew more about monetary policy, but I really don't. But from what I know, I don't believe that should be the case among other things because we also control our own monetary supply, and our debt is in our own currency, which is also the world reserve currency. But I'm pretty outside my area on monetary supply.


Q:

Or, I could paraphrase something in the New Testament: It matters more what comes out of your mouth than what goes into it.

A:

Yes, in the early days, every single game was innovative and fresh! Each time you'd walk into an arcade you'd see something new. Was amazing.


Q:

You just showed that you know 100x more about monetary policy than the person you replied to. Seriously. "Debt based currency" is a meaningless term. If you see someone use it, it's generally a tell that they read far right wing tinfoil hat type sites. I've asked people who use this term to explain what it means and they can't.

A:

Why do you think ideological thought is pushed so heavily at the universities?


Q:

Are there any secrets that were left on the cutting room floor in Blitz and Jam that you wish were left in?

Also, what are your thoughts on the NFL Blitz reboot from a few years ago. Do you feel like the game captured the magic the original did?

A:

I typically have a rule against engaging with gold folks because it's always pointless. Given that this was my first AMA (and really, first time on Reddit, except for the occasional search for deep video game-related knowledge), I figured I should answer everything! You can see my mistake carried out below.


Q:

1/3 laziness, 1/3 ignorance and 1/3 malevolence. Laziness: it's easier to apply a doctrine to everything at once than to think through complex issues; Ignorance: the less you know about a problem the easier you think it is to solve; Malevolence: it's great to find the enemy in others so that you have someone against who to direct your resentment.

A:

Re the EA remake - I was working on that project with the talented EA Tiburon team, where the Madden engine was adjusted to accommodate the lickety-split 60FPS action of Blitz. I departed for Zynga prior to the title completing. In the end, it didn't pan out or live up to the expectations I'd had or potential. We had toyed with it being a free to play title that was only head to head - which could have worked IMO.

As for other secrets in the Blitz and Jam series - back in the day we didn't have the "ship it" pressure that Studios have today - so we were actually able to get everything into the game that we wanted.

For NBA Showtime, we did develop a connected mini game Pop a Shot mode, ala Golden Tee Golf, which never gt released. It was fun challenging, and could have been a game changer at the arcade level.


Q:

Heh heh heh. Maybe it will make for a good story at the office water cooler on Monday morning.

A:
  1. In my experience, having ambitious, meaningful plans often generates stress and overexcitement that interfere with their realization. What would you recommend as a remedy to that and, in general, what is your advice on actual day-to-day carrying out of such plans?

  2. In your lectures, you often talk about the importance of paying attention. Attention is also an important theme in Buddhism, and in fact developing attention through meditation (shamatha) and then applying it to aspects of one's experience in order to gain insight (vipassana) is said to be a key factor in achieving enlightenment. What are your thoughts on that and were you aware of this connection?

  3. Another theme that you often return to in your lectures is the phenomenological manifestation of meaning. How in your experience does one distinguish between what is genuinely meaningful and what is simply beautiful, or just makes a particular strong impression on the mind? Is it primarily a matter of ethics?


Q:

back in the day we didn't have the "ship it" pressure that Studios have today - so we were actually able to get everything into the game that we wanted.

Boy I'd kill to see that in an AAA studio these days. There's been way too many games ship unfinished lately.

A:

Yeah, this is definitely coming up, haha.


Q:

I was and am aware of the connection. If you pay attention to something, you allow it to speak to you. That will change the way you see the world. Each change in the way you see the world is, however, a little death (and sometimes more than a little). So it's easy to be resistant to it. But it's better to prune your own branches. You'll bear more fruit that way.

A:

Yes, that is one of the key problems in the business. Not knowing how to bite off the right chunk that can actually launch as polished product. Live-ops is key!


Q:

Solar, exactly. But most of our economy is based on Oil. We were head in the right direction. And since Trumps new budget completely guts the NASA budget, I don't think we'll even research the mining technology let alone fund a mission.

A:

Dr. Peterson sorry if this query sounds a tad bit too technical but there are very less people who advice young upcoming psychologists on these matters, so i am writing to you. I am 24 years old and I have recently completed my Masters in Social and Personality Psychology and i want to pursue my PhD. from a university in U.S. or Canada. I have been interested in the exact topics that you discuss in your personality and maps of meaning classes since i was 18 (that's when i had found Frankl and Camus and also found social psychological studies like Milgram experiments and Zimbardo prisoner-guard studies). As someone who is obsessed with these topics i want to pursue it as an active research interest and also maybe translate it into a PhD. degree. But do you think it's worth pursuing a PhD. in an U.S. or Canadian universities anymore ? (I live i an another country..so going and studying in an U.S. or Cannadian University is mostly likely going to cost me a considerable amount too..) And also what advice would you give to people like me, who are interested exclusively in the topics that you discuss and want to pursue academic research projects on these very topics ? Thank you


Q:

In your arcade games and mobile games do you as developers acknowledge the incentive you have to make the game difficult / cumbersome in parts to push the player to spend money?

I feel like the free to play monetary platform puts the money and fun aspects completely at odds with each other in most implementations and it has completely soured me to most games that use it. What's to stop you from adding obstacles or monotony to make more money?

Lately I feel like most mobile games are just trying to rip me off. Make the game fun enough to get you hooked and then go full Skinner box and milk them for all you can. Even if it is 100% ad driven I just know that in some conference room somewhere they are deciding how many / how often they can display an ad that the user will either willingly suffer them or pay to remove the annoyance.

At this point I'm more likely to just buy a game outright because I don't trust game developers not to do this to me.

A:

Sure, yeah. I should have made two separate points. First, I think we can keep growing because of other resources. The reason we weren't growing for thousands of years is that we weren't really accumulating stuff. We were just living.

Second, though, just living at current levels is way better than just living in poverty. That is, I'm not convinced that growth itself is the party. I think having sweet things is the party.


Q:

The utility of pursuing a Ph.D. depends to a great degree on the knowledge, intelligence and integrity of your advisor. Find someone who is doing great work. Work with him or her. Read everything you can. Make yourself into a credible researcher. All of that is certainly still possible. But the advisor/student relationship is paramount.

A:

Totally understand your mindset. We all have to walk a fine line - a game for the masses can be free, can be fun, and can support players who want to spend for additional experiences. Many games are doing it properly. It is a business, but when you look at Wizard of Oz Magic Match, there are hours and hours of fun, beautiful music, graphics, and innovations, all experienced for free. And yet some players will happily spend a but here and there to advance more quickly. But it's never required and players can also be at end of content without any spend.


Q:

having sweet things is the party.

touche, we would essentially be living sustainably at that point... in the dark lol

A:

How do you pray? Do you go to church?


Q:

Greetings. Ever since I played "Beer Run" in my early childhood, I have been fascinated with that unusual little game. For some reason, whenever I get the itch to pull out an AppleII emulator, it's one of the first games I turn to. While I won't say the game is unique among early 80s AppleII games in how it causes me to wonder at its design philosophy, it's still one of the most curious.

This is the only chance I'll have to ask these questions so here goes.

  • What's up with the single-footed walk of the protagonist?
  • What's up with the odd, sliding gait of the bouncers?
  • Does the game change at some point? For example, if one continues to use elevators to go up?
  • Was this game inspired by Space Panic aka Apple Panic?
  • Any anecdotes you have about the creation of this game? (Bet you weren't expecting anyone to talk about it.)

Thank you in advance!

A:

Yep! Though your fun part at the end brings up a good point that a lot of the valuation that we have right now is based on current costs of energy. If that goes up, a lot of our machines become a whole lot less valuable. So I amend my point to admit that the value of life would go down, but yes, it would still be pretty sustainably, but just in the dark. :)


Q:

I pray that I don't make a fatal mistake.

No. In my experience, the ministers are too-frequently lying. I can't stand to hear them say words they don't believe. Not when I know what the words mean.

A:

Beer Run! It was the 2nd game I ever made, after Sneakers, and I'm not a good artist - so all the art is programmer art! Including the walking animations. I tried! The game just loops after the Blimp picks you up and you get to 2nd building. I was learning new things and pushing the limits of the Apple 2 as far as they had gone at that stage, so scrolling and blending characters into the background were key efforts - and the huge Blimp and rope dangling!

Thanks for playing and remembering that game!


Q:

Before I get to the question I just wanted to say thank you. I think what you have to say about open discourse and totalitarianism is extremely important, especially given the widening gap between the left and the right. You've also helped me out of a slump of rather life-destroying nihilism, so I can't express my gratitude enough with regards to that.

In this video (I lost the time stamp of the specific quote, I apologize) you give a Nietzschean/Darwinian definition of truth: "truth serves life." When you elaborated on this definition of truth, you said "if a truth makes you insane, then it's not a truth - there is something wrong with it." Given this definition, if refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns makes somebody's mental state deteriorate to the point of insanity or suicide, does it follow that refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns is not acting in accordance with truth?

I wanted to ask you that question in the spirit of challenging all ideas when you came to McMaster last week, but I was unfortunately prevented from doing so.

If you have time for a second question, I have one about the people that influenced your thoughts on totalitarianism. Could you explain what led you to take Hannah Arendt's definition of totalitarianism - as well as the charges she makes against Stalinism - and apply it to all of Marxism? Are ideological Marxists inherently totalitarian because their belief system commands them to serve the law of history?

Edit: damn, I should have put the totalitarianism question first

A:

Do you think a video game could be more character/narrative driven, instead of mission driven? e.g. Could there ever be a Glengarry Glen Ross video game?


Q:

I'm glad to hear that you've escaped the purgatory of nihilism. It's a very difficult trap for intelligent, critically minded people to avoid. But it's a cop-out, too, because nihilism means that you don't have to take responsibility for anything.

Generally, I can't answer questions that involve very detailed hypotheticals, because the Devils always in the details. So I could say, if I refused to use a gender-neutral pronoun and that made someone's mental state deteriorate to the point of insanity then it would be a mistake, in all likelihood. But that's a very unlikely outcome, and I presume I would be perspicacious enough to pick that up when I was communicating with the person, who would likely be in a substantial amount of distress, if they he or she (or they) were that fragile.

A:

Oh yes for sure narrative is of growing importance and already the blockbuster titles I feel are driven from that side on consoles. Mobile, not so much. It doesn't feel like as proper to have that as focus IMO.


Q:

Why do you think Zynga never really succeeded on mobile after killing it on facebook?

A:

Zynga did kill it on FB, and we got a slow start on mobile because we lingered on web too long. But with WWF, Poker, CSR 2, FV, our Wizard of Oz slots and match-3 titles, we are doing very well on mobile. Growing, succeeding, and more on the way. Live-ops is key to mobile success, and Zynga is stellar at that due to FB app history.


Q:

If you were to make a board game what would it be?

A:

CityVille board game - let each player develop their own hub or structures, players cruise through and interact.


Q:

So I have this fishing game idea, Mark. It involves finding one fish worth a lot of money. Whatcha think? :)

A:

Hey! I'm telling you - there is a $1,000,000 fishing idea that will happen! And you know it!


Q:

Hey Mark!

Love your work, even if I can never forgive you for purposely making the Bulls suck in the clutch in NBA Jam. But alas, bygones are bygones.

Question: How did you get Neil Funk to do all of the announcing on NBA Hangtime? What was he like to work with in the studio?

Thanks!

A:

NBA Hangtime still holds up today too! The team fire mode was very strategic, and the variety of action was super high. And the create-a-player characters were a blast.

Neil was a pro and easy to work with, but didn't quite have the same flair as Tim Kitzrow!

And, as for the Bulls - yeah they sucked then and still do. I couldn't help myself there in Chicago surrounded by Bulls fans, and being from Michigan. So I had to do something to level the playing field. The Pistons had the Jordan Rules, Midway had the Turmell NBA Jam rules!


Q:

Any tips for someone trying to get into the industry?

A:

Depends on your discipline (art, engineering, production, audio, PM, etc.) but the best place to start IMO is Gamasutra.com

It covers the industry challenges, products, openings, and trends. So much to learn on there.


Q:

Any chance we can get the old games with updated rosters? I love the way Blitz used to play. The remake within the past few years was... so so. Not bad, not great. Felt more like Madden arcade than Blitz.

A:

EA owns the rights - I hope they do!


Q:

Hi Mark,

How close do Game Designers work with Gaming Writers ? I'm curious to understand the work relationship more. I'm a Writer but I don't hear much talk at the conventions (E3 etc) on the Writers and/or teams that actually write the storylines for the games. Any insight?

A:

Depends on the game. We had a writer all the way back on NBA Ballers, and of course some games have full time writers. There are opportunities for sure. Even a game like Gardenscapes, has a full time writer crafting not only the quests, but helping with overall narrative/fiction of game.


Q:

Hello, thank you for the AMA!

How do you feel about the role of consumer testing/consumer insights in game development? Anything you'd like to see more of/less of/done differently?

Thank you!

A:

Consumer insights can be critical, can be problematic. At the end of the day, good game developers are gathering all the data points they can and whittling things down to the minimum viable product. And early consumer testing can be a key data point - if the questions and info provided is proper. It takes a smart and experienced insights team to get truly relevant data.

I'd like to see teams do simpler tests. 3 images each of a different game/theme, ~3 sentences describing game, all side by side on a web page you scroll through. And then have 3 questions where they rate overall concept, uniqueness, and perceived fun factor.

Keep it simple. Get a good and clear data point.


Q:

Are we ever gonna get a new NBA Jam game?

A:

I'm sure EA will re-discover it again one day! They own the rights.