My latest creative work is a collection of 12 short stories that use the fantastic to explore the human, everyday dimensions of life at home during the pandemic.

Published on May 20, 2021, you can listen now only at Audible.

All of the PR people I know are running around like I am, making sure they’re getting the job done for their companies or clients. But one thing is making things a lot easier:

Now we get to tell them the truth, and they’re telling the truth to their stakeholders.

No, don’t get me wrong. I think PR folks are among the smartest, most principled people I know, and I haven’t met more than a handful over my 35-year career who didn’t bring an incredible amount of sincerity and passion to everything they did.

But the opposite of truth isn’t…

The evils of socialism threaten the economic freedoms that are synonymous with freedom of speech, free exercise of liberty, and America’s other fundamental rights, according to a speech Nikki Haley made to the Hudson Institute late last month (as reported by George Will, and here’s the full transcript of her remarks).

She’s either mistaken, perhaps blinded by her sincere love of country and principle, or purposefully misleading (like her past references to a “Democrat leadership” that doesn’t exist by that name).

Or a little of both.

Her argument is a mishmosh of ideas but it basically boils down to a…

Microsoft and IBM have signed the “Rome Call for AI Ethics,” pledging to the Vatican that their AI will protect the planet and its people.

History is filled with secular leaders cutting such deals in exchange for the Church’s sanction for fighting a war newly deemed “holy,” or sometimes simply its benign disregard when said leaders’ actions came nowhere near qualifying for such a description.

None of these agreements are binding, of course. Circumstances change, indulgences are recalculated, and yesterday’s blessed sons and daughters become tomorrow’s apostates.

The only mitigating factor is a signatory’s fear of eternal damnation (though that…

It’s official: Facebook has doubled down on its goal of imposing its radical ideology on the world.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t have been more clear in his comments at a tech conference last week:

“We’re going to stand up for free expression. It’s unfortunate that this is such a controversial thing. This is a new approach, and I think it’s going to piss off a lot of people.”

Only it isn’t a new approach, considering Facebook recently declined to fact-check political ads and other conduits of false or inflammatory speech. …

Boeing’s widening woes are a warning to every communicator tasked with creating or sharing company purpose.

The headline in today’s New York Times says it all: Cascading Crisis Reveals ‘Sick’ Culture at Boeing. Recently revealed internal documents show employees regularly cutting corners, dissing one another and insulting customers, feeling remorse for having deluded regulators and, above all, obsessing about meeting deadlines and budgets.

“Would you put your family on a Max simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t,” mused one employee according to the Times.

This reality stands in stark contrast to the soaring imagination of Boeing’s corporate purpose.

The company’s website

The shocking advances in robot technology were not on display at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show, at least not in a way that anybody would recognize.

There were lots of robots to see, of course, but they were mostly the silly and goofy kind, modeled on the advanced technologies debuted on Battlestar Galactica in 1978 to meet our expectations for clunky machines with smiling “faces.” I saw many robots that rolled around awkwardly as they struggled to function like smartphones.

The real robot innovations at the show didn’t have arms, legs, or faces; they were embedded in everything…cameras, TVs, cars…

I got to thinking about this question a few days ago after reading about the death of Victoria Braithwaite, a biologist who believed that fish feel pain (and feel happier in tanks decorated with plants).

Lots of experts pushed back on her research findings earlier this decade, claiming that fish brains lacked a neocortex, which meant they weren’t conscious, so whatever Dr. Braithwaite observed was autonomous reaction to unpleasant stimuli.

So pulling my hand out of a fire would be a reaction, not an experience of pain?

The questions Dr. Braithwaite explored remain murky and unanswered.

Since nobody can explain…

Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a live audience on Thursday that the company promotes free speech and “brings people together.”

It’s not true.

First off, underlying Zuckerberg’s philosophy is the convenient assumption that there’s no such thing as truth. There are two (or more) sides to everything, so it’s a fool’s errand to try and police it, since you’d thereby risk taking sides.

This provides cover not only for laissez faire policies across the social media world, but also lets brand marketers shrug when challenged on the veracity on their promises. …

Move over purpose. Sayonara spin. Let your influencers take a break.

The best brands will be those that don’t exist, at least not overtly. Your branding strategy should be for your brand to disappear.

Think about it: Brands popped into existence a century or so ago because businesses armed with new tech and cash got bigger, blowing up the local, personal, and authentic relationships they once had with their customers. Media filled the void, first with print and then experiential radio and TV, which provided the opportunity to invent ersatz relationships.

Distance didn’t matter. Facts didn’t, either. Brands were invented…

Jonathan Salem Baskin

Author. Adviser. Agitator. I also write books about technology and brands, short sci-fi stories, and rock musicals.

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