TV Review: Brave New World, Channel 4, 8pm, last night

FOR a man who has to speak using a synthesised computer voice, Stephen Hawking is an undeniably powerful communicator.

By Gareth Edwards
Tuesday, 18th October 2011, 10:33 am

And the man who somehow made science cool again, thanks to his extraordinary book A Brief History of Time and its simplified follow-ups has also become almost a cultural shorthand for cutting-edge science - a status he put to good use here.

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The show had Hawking effectively overseeing a bunch of reports by other TV scientists, as if to say “this programme has been endorsed by me for its quality science”.

Which is no bad thing at all if it encouraged a few more people to tune in and learn about fascinating technological developments, such as machine brains, robot exo-skeletons that can give paralysed people super-strength and the driverless car.

There was also the entertaining iCub, a baby robot that learns like a child and will no doubt enslave us all in a few decades, and a trip to the world’s biggest telescope array to lean about the ongoing search for extra-terrestrial life.