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Alex Laskey: How behavioral science can lower your energy bill
What’s a proven way to lower your energy costs? Would you believe: learning what your neighbor pays. Alex Laskey shows how a quirk of human behavior can make us all better, wiser energy users, with lower bills to prove it.
Alex Laskey helps power companies to help their customers cut down — using data analysis, marketing and a pinch of psychology.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
What’s a powerful way to help people use less power at home? Pit them against their neighbors. As founder and president of Opower, Alex Laskey helps utlity companies show customers, right on their utility bills, where their own house sits on the spectrum of neighborhood energy wasters — and how to beat the game. It seems silly, but the large-scale reductions in energy usage are no joke.
Opower works with more than 80 utilities on three continents, and serves over 15 million customers. Since its launch in 2008, it has cumulatively saved utility customers more than $200 million and 2 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy — enough to power a city of more than a quarter million people. It’s all through a powerful combination of behavioral science, data analytics and good marketing.
In the next twelve months, Opower is on track to save another 1 TWh, equivalent to more than one half the generation of the entire US solar power plant industry in 2011.
Lisa Bu: How books can open your mind
What happens when a dream you’ve held since childhood … doesn’t come true? As Lisa Bu adjusted to a new life in the United States, she turned to books to expand her mind and create a new path for herself. She shares her unique approach to reading in this lovely, personal talk about the magic of books.
Lisa Bu has built a career helping people find great stories to listen to. Now she tells her own story.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HER?
At TED’s annual staff retreat, everyone has to get up and talk about something — either about work, or about something interesting from their own lives. In fall 2012, our own Lisa Bu prepared a talk about her love of reading. And our quiet, funny and efficient Content Distribution Manager simply brought down the house, with a story that’s too good not to share. We are thrilled and proud that Lisa is the first TED staffer ever to be invited to speak on the mainstage at the TED Conference.
Born and raised in Hunan, China, Lisa Bu has been with TED since 2011. Before that, she spent seven years as a talk show producer and a digital media content director at Wisconsin Public Radio. She’s also a computer programmer, with a PhD in journalism and an MBA in information systems from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a BA in Chinese from Nanjing University in China.
Consciousness & the Brain: John Searle
John Searle one of the world’s great philosophers of mind and language, has spent fifty years stimulating thinking around the world. What he says about consciousness as a biological phenomenon will challenge you! Cogitation, Consciousness & The Brain.
Skylar Tibbits: The emergence of “4D printing”
3D printing has grown in sophistication since the late 1970s; TED Fellow Skylar Tibbits is shaping the next development, which he calls 4D printing, where the fourth dimension is time. This emerging technology will allow us to print objects that then reshape themselves or self-assemble over time. Think: a printed cube that folds before your eyes, or a printed pipe able to sense the need to expand or contract.
Skylar Tibbits, a TED Fellow, is an artist and computational architect working on “smart” components that can assemble themselves.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
Can we create objects that assemble themselves — that zip together like a strand of DNA or that have the ability for transformation embedded into them? These are the questions that Skylar Tibbits investigates in his Self-Assembly Lab at MIT, a cross-disciplinary research space where designers, scientists and engineers come together to find ways for disordered parts to become ordered structures.
A trained architect, designer and computer scientist, Tibbits teaches design studios at MIT’s Department of Architecture and co-teaches the seminar “How to Make (Almost) Anything” at MIT’s Media Lab. Before that, he worked at a number of design offices including Zaha Hadid Architects, Asymptote Architecture, SKIII Space Variations and Point b Design. His work has been shown at the Guggenheim Museum and the Beijing Biennale.
Tibbits has collaborated with a number of influential people over the years, including Neil Gershenfeld and The Center for Bits and Atoms, Erik and Marty Demaine at MIT, Adam Bly at SEED Media Group and Marc Fornes of THEVERYMANY. In 2007, he and Marc Fornes co-curated Scriptedbypurpose, the first exhibition focused exclusively on scripted processes within design. Also in 2007, he founded SJET, a multifaceted practice and research platform for experimental computation and design. SJET crosses disciplines from architecture and design, fabrication, computer science and robotics.
Bono: The good news on poverty (Yes, there’s good news)
Human beings have been campaigning against inequality and poverty for 3,000 years. But this journey is accelerating. Bono “embraces his inner nerd” and shares inspiring data that shows the end of poverty is in sight … if we can harness the momentum.
Bono, the lead singer of U2, uses his celebrity to fight for social justice worldwide: to end hunger, poverty and disease, especially in Africa. His nonprofit ONE raises awareness via media, policy and calls to action.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
Irreverent, funny, iconoclastic and relentless, Bono has proven himself stunningly effective in encouraging and cajoling the world’s most powerful leaders to take seriously the challenge of disease and hunger and seize the historic opportunity we now have to beat extreme poverty, especially in Africa, through technological innovation, smart aid, transparency and investments which put citizens in charge.
As lead singer of U2, Bono performed at Live Aid in 1985, which inspired him to travel to Ethiopia with his wife, Ali. There they spent several weeks helping with a famine relief project. The experience shocked him and ignited a determination to work for change. In Bono’s own words, “What are the blind spots of our age? It might be something as simple as our deep-down refusal to believe that every human life has equal worth”. In 2005, the year of Make Poverty History, Bono became one of the inaugural winners of the TED Prize; he used his wish to raise awareness and inspire activism.
In 2002, he co-founded DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), which later became the advocacy and campaign organization, ONE. Today ONE has more than 3 million members who pressure politicians around the world to improve policies to empower the poorest. Thanks to these efforts, along with those of partners and grassroots leaders in Africa, these policies have delivered results. For example, eight million people are now on life preserving antiretoviral medications, malarial death rates have been halved in eight target countries, 50 million more children are in school and 5.4 million lives have been saved through vaccines.
In 2006, Bono and Bobby Shriver launched (RED) to engage the private sector in the fight against AIDS in Africa. (RED) Partners direct a portion of their profits from (RED)-branded products, services and events directly to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In just six years, (RED) has contributed more than $200 million – every penny of which goes directly to HIV/AIDS programs with the goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV. To date, (RED) dollars have helped the lives of more than 14 million people in Africa through education, testing, counseling, and treatment programs.
Bono also co-founded EDUN with his wife Ali. EDUN is a global fashion brand which does business in an number of countries in Africa and beyond, sourcing materials and manufacturing clothing. In Uganda, EDUN is supporting over 8,000 farmers in their move from subsistence to sustainable business practices.
Granted knighthood in 2007 and dubbed a “Man of Peace” in 2008, Bono mobilized in 2010 following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, performing the song “Stranded” with bandmate The Edge — and Rihanna and Jay-z — during the for Hope for Haiti Now telethon. The event was watched by 83 million people in the United States alone and raised a reported $58 million for relief.
Bono’s journey in activism spans a generation and where he is coming from, and above all where he is going, is something we should all pay close attention to.