California magazine is excited to announce its latest venture: The Edge, a podcast tackling cutting-edge, often controversial topics within the UC Berkeley community. The first two episodes—which explore the personal information we unknowingly give away on our phones and the evolution of politically correct language—will be out July 1. Later episodes will cover the alternative meat industry, gene-edited babies, augmented reality, and much more.
Hosted by deputy editor Laura Smith and online editor Leah Worthington, The Edge recruits Berkeley’s leading experts to answer our most pressing modern questions: Should you be able to choose your baby’s IQ? Are algorithms really smarter than people? As we face a planet devastated by climate change, what is the future of food?
“There’s something so intimate about audio,” says Worthington. “I’m excited to reach our readers—and now listeners—through a new medium to share stories about the incredible innovation happening every day at Berkeley.”
“We had two main goals when we started this podcast,” Smith says. “We wanted our readers to have access to the most important, controversial, and groundbreaking ideas. And we wanted discussing them to be fun.”
Though the podcast has been in the works for more than six months, California editor in chief, Pat Joseph, notes that the time seems ripe to launch the podcast while the country shelters in place. “With the pandemic, I think people are hungrier than ever to understand the changing world around them and to hear from trusted experts what the changes they’re seeing in their lives mean. With The Edge, Laura and Leah bring those experts right into listener’s homes, cars, and headphones.”
So far, interview subjects have included linguists, sociologists, geneticists, cybersecurity experts, entrepreneurs, students, and many others. Worthington called their interview with Cal alum Stephen Hsu about the future of genetics “one of the most interesting and alarming” she’s ever done. Smith is most excited about the episode where they solve an Internet mystery—a journey that takes listeners on a months-long investigation from New York to Los Angeles. “We promise you’ll learn something new,” says Smith, “and you may just change your mind about something you thought you knew.”