Looking back on TED Active

After attending TED Active, Bruno looks back on the most memorable moments and striking quotes. The inspiring people he met during the three day conference have left him pondering on Belgian modesty and the society we live in.

An eclectic mix

3 days have past and the TED conference is still resonating firmly. Never before have I experienced so much energy and creativity bundled in one event. The audience – an eclectic mix of artists, entrepreneurs, researchers and scientists from all over the world, shared their ideas, their stories enriching other people. The actual TED talks came in many flavors, 5 highlights, “quote” style

5 quotes to remember

“Always do the right thing even when the right thing is the hard thing” – Bryan Stevenson talking about injustice in society.
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“I’m here to talk about autonomous agile flying beach balls”. Vijay Kumar talking about intelligent flying robots which he demoes in this amazing video.
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“I made a nuclear reactor when I was 14” – Taylor Wilson, a 17 year old prodigy talking about his vision on new forms of energy.

“We can change the world if we defy the impossible” & “Be nice to nerds” – Regina Dugan, Director of Darpa, the special research department within the US military.

“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” – Susan Cain, talking about the power of introverts.

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That last quote seamlessly brings me to the next topic…


Belgians generally don’t like to pitch big ideas and aren’t always the best talkers. One could say we are a nation of introverts. We prefer to stay on the background, keep our opinion to ourselves instead of taking the stage and standing up for what’s right. We call it being modest. It’s a cozy place to be in, the shadow. However, we cannot afford to longer do so as the world is at the verge of some fundamental choices…



My question to you is: in which kind of society do you and your children want to live? How do we want to use robotics? Are we willing to take hard decisions now to preserve the planet tomorrow? What makes us human? Things we have never had to think about are now at our doorstep. We Belgians need to start to voice our ideas… If we don’t, we’ll wake up in a society we don’t want. The first signs are abundantly present already: old Belgians fearing the future, young Belgians losing hope.

What TED is all about

TED is a message of hope, a message that if people work together, they can change society for the better. That’s why the Belgians that were on the TED Active conference have decided to take this to the next level at TEDx Leuven at the end of the month, by crowdsourcing a word worth spreading, a word that embodies hope for a sustainable society that focuses on the happiness of people. Let’s start a movement, let’s start in Belgium…