Imogen Heap charms at opening of Music Tech Fest

Published Sep 05, 2018

At the opening of Music Tech Fest this week, recording artist and producer Imogen Heap presented her ambitions for using blockchain technology to manage music rights; and the natural reverb of the underground R1 Reactor Hall invited her at points to break out in song. Exciting things happen when art and technology cross-fertilize.

“What’s amazing about KTH is that it is an institution where science and art meet,” said Music Tech Fest’s founder, Michela Magas, who opened the event.

She was also impressed with how many from KTH are participating in the weeklong ”festival of ideas.” Nearly 100 researchers, teachers, PhDs and students have enrolled in the labs and MTF Hack Camp. There are also nearly 80 student volunteers.

”So it is closer to 200 from KTH who have decided that this is something valuable for them to participate in,” Magas said.

KTH President Sigbritt Karlsson called the cooperation between KTH and Music Tech Fest a “perfect match.”

MTF this weekend

Public admission to MTF Stockholm begins on Saturday. For ticket information, visit musictechfest.net

"KTH is a natural meeting place for exciting ideas and innovation,” Karlsson said. “This is a great opportunity for us to express our motto, ‘science and art.’ Our view that equality in the technology sphere is a quality issue is something that we share with Music Tech Fest.

"If I summarize KTH in two words, I would say, ideas and solutions. And Swedish industry would not be as strong as it is today without KTH,” Karlsson said.

Heap talked about her project, Mycelia, which also involves the combination of science and art. She described Mycelia as a decentralized music database: ”Everything you need to know about a song.” The concept builds on blockchain technology, which is a peer-to-peer solution for facilitating music rights.

One of the more scientific elements during the opening ceremony was KTH Computer Science Professor Danica Kragic’s talk about artificial intelligence research, including short and long-term challenges. One challenge she raised was that there is a trend toward robots that look like people. "But if you build robots that look like humans, people expect the robots to be human-like,” she said.

Håkan Soold

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