The Audio Engineering Society (AES) has announced that Thomas Dolby will deliver the keynote address during the opening ceremonies of the AES New York 2018 convention, to be held October 17-20, 2018, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

While known best for his work as a musician, producer, film score composer and filmmaker, Dolby has been an educator throughout his career. In 2014, he was named Homewood Professor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. During his 35-year career, he has consulted and assisted on countless technological developments, including LaserDiscs, computer games, interactive TV, virtual reality installations and location-based entertainment.

With the title “The Conscious Sound Byte,” Dolby’s AES keynote address will focus on next-generation sound technologies—in particular, adaptive/nonlinear music and audio for games, VR/AR, “hearables” and other new media platforms.

Related: Classic Tracks: Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me with Science," by Tim Morse, Jan. 1, 2000

“A big difference between ‘real’ and ‘electronic’ sounds is that electronic sounds have zero awareness of each other,” says Dolby. “Sound bytes blindly follow orders and fire off [usually] as instructed by a human. Yet musicians playing ‘real’ instruments listen, resonate and respond to the music, the room, and to each other, in a matter of microseconds.

“In the hands of master arranger or programmer, this is not a problem,” he continues. “Many of the nuances of real music can be simulated quite effectively as processor speed, bandwidth and resolution improve. But as entertainment becomes more interactive, with games and augmented reality and ‘wearable’ technologies, it is increasingly vital that electronic sounds and music learn an awareness of the context in which they are playing.”

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AES New York 2018 will feature four full days of technical program research presentations, workshops and tutorials (October 17-20) and three days of exhibition floor showcases and demos (October 17-19) from leading names in professional audio manufacturing and services, along with the popular Project Studio Expo, Live Sound Expo and other specialized events.