What Would You Write Songs About?

Songwriting is an unusual way for us to communicate with other human beings. If you were to write songs, what would you write about?

We are all familiar with listening to songs. We hear them on the radio, in movies or TV shows, on the Internet, and so on. We sing them to each other, and we might even sing in the shower, because the acoustics are so good!

And yet, despite being familiar with music, only a very few have much skill and experience in writing songs. The act of creating lyrics and music together to form a memorable, catchy tune is not easy, and it takes time and practice.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss a related question: ‘What does your favorite music say about you?’ We also discuss a bonus question as well, ‘Where does authority come from?’


Most communication is verbal, of course, although we also communicate non-verbally as well. Music, however, remains a unique way to communicate with our fellow humans. There is something special about music and how we react to hearing it. It can tap directly into our emotions in a way that everyday speech might not be able to easily do.

With that in mind, imagine for a moment that you are a songwriter. What, then, would you write about? Many songs deal with love, although there is no shortage of other topics as well.

What would you write songs about?

Related questions: Why does music evoke emotion? How does creative expression help us to know ourselves better? Music: Make or listen? Where do ideas come from?

A.I.-Generated Text Or A.I.-Generated Images?

Do you think artificial intelligence does a better job with generated text or images? Which is more useful, do you think?

Share why if you wish.

A.I.-Generated Text Or A.I.-Generated Images?

What Do You Think About Artificial Intelligence?

As the quality of artificial intelligence continues to increase, it is easy to imagine that it will have a significant impact in many areas of our everyday life. How might it impact your life, and how do you feel about it?

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has long been a staple of science fiction. From Asimov’s robot stories to the computer HAL in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: a Space Odyssey, the possibilities of AI has often been the source of futurist stories.

Now, however, science fiction is beginning to merge with science fact. The recent advances in AI-generated text and images have captured the public imagination. People are using AI interfaces to generate marketing text, or to make pictures of any prompt they can think of.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘Is technology neutral?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘Freedom or security?’


But while individuals play with the various interfaces, some have started sound alarm bells. While the output of many of the AI platforms can be spotted fairly easily now, the advances are happening quickly. It is not clear where the technology will go next, and some see a dire future.

Students could generate school essays with minimal research. Any conspiracy theorist can create legitimate-sounding content to dupe unsuspecting members pf the public. And in the ultimate nightmare scenario, AI could become so advanced that it has an agenda of its own, and ignores the wishes and desires of the humans who created it.

But is this all just fear of the unknown? Are the people spreading panic just not seeing — or not choosing to see — the benefits of the new technology? Will artificial intelligence be a tool of mankind, used to multiply our productivity, or is it instead an existential threat? Or somewhere in between?

What do you think about artificial intelligence?

Related questions: Will technology save us? What new technology do you want? What is the greatest problem facing humanity? How can we measure intelligence?

 

Why Are We Sad When Someone We Don’t Know Dies?

When someone dies who had an impact on us — a beloved entertainer from our childhood, for example — we are sad, even though we don’t know the figure personally. But why should that be?

There is no doubt that there is an emotional reaction to the news of someone’s death. For people we know and interact with, that is understandable. That person’s place in our life is missing.

However, we also feel sadness for some we have never met. For instance, a musician who sang a particularly meaningful song, or an author who wrote a touchstone book.

But why? The meaningful part — the song, say, or the book — still exist. They are not being erased from the public consciousness, and in fact may gain some awareness from the creator’s death.

Is it that the person will no longer be creating anything that might move you similarly? Chances are, unless you are a completist, there is music from that artist you have never heard, or books by that author you have never read. There is still new material  — new to you, that is — to be discovered.

Perhaps it is general empathy. We are sad to hear of someone’s death. A life with value has come to an end, which is a cause for mourning.

And yet, people with value die every minute of every day. With eight billion people on the planet, we cannot mourn the passing of each and every one — we would live in a constant tsunami of sadness.

So why, then, are we affected by these individual deaths? Why are we not happy that the person existed in the first place, and created such impactful works of art? Why not take joy that our world can produce such people, who in turn create such meaning?

There is no doubt that we are saddened by the news of these passings. It seems obvious that the feelings exist. But is there a reason why? Why do we feel sad when someone we don’t know dies?

Related questions: Why are people afraid of death? What is the nature of celebrity? What makes you nostalgic? What are you sad about?