Here are five indicators, observations or articles that caught the eye of FA futurists today.
- Nest’s smart thermostats are rolling out new peak-load management capabilities, enabling the company to offer participants cash discounts if they enable their thermostats to manage their electricity and A/C consumption during heavy load periods. Demand reduction for participants is always voluntary, and Nest thinks its positive image with customers may make them more likely to participate in the program than in the programs offered by utility companies.
- “Sensor journalism” is in its infancy, and will go beyond the handcrafted approach discussed in this piece to include distributed sensing on millions of mobile devices.
- Drugs to treat insomnia are plagued by side effects. A recent study in Science Translational Medicine reports “the prospect of a new class of compound with a new mode of action that may usher in a new era for insomnia treatment, with the potential for fewer side effects.” Promising results with rats and monkeys will need to be replicated in humans.
- David Girouard, writing for Wired, argues that the next stage of crowdfunding–the next disruption of the way capital is allocated–will be investing in promising people, rather than companies or ideas. Girouard is founder and CEO of Upstart, which lets backers invest in promising college graduates in exchange for a small share of their future income.
- Lego founder Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen is launching a new school in Lego’s hometown of Billund. The school, dubbed Lego School, will follow the state education standards and offer IB degrees, but the educational focus will be “educational inquiry” and incorporate creativity and play. The aim of the schools is to turn out students who can “think and do.”