As Cyndi Lauper once sang, girls just wanna have fun. And what’s more fun than learning about emerging technology, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and futurism?
The We Get Real AF podcast features two women from the Triangle talking about all things involving women in tech, and breaking it down to a level that anyone—tech junkie or not—can understand.
“Tech isn’t boring,” Sue Robinson, one of the hosts, said. “It’s not just for a 25-year-old guy who is a gamer in his basement. Tech is for everyone.”
Robinson started the podcast with her friend and coworker Vanessa Alava—Robinson lives in Raleigh and Alava in Durham—and the first episode launched June 30. Their passion project stemmed from their desire to to learn and broaden their knowledge of emerging technology, while also amplifying the voices of women in the field.
Both women have a long background in media and/or entertainment. Robinson has spent most of her career as a TV news journalist, while Alava has primarily worked in film/TV both behind and in front of the camera.
Since its launch, the podcast has quickly ascended to the top half of all podcasts on its hosting site, Buzzsprout. The September edition of Podcast Magazine’s “Off The Charts” feature just tabbed We Get Real AF as its top pick in the technology category.
Tech companies and startups in particular are known for having interesting names (GrepBeat included), but the name We Get Real AF actually has a double meaning. It comes from the phrase Women and Girls in Emerging Technology, XR, AI and Futurism. Robinson and Alava wanted a cheeky name to represent the relatable attitude of their content, while also serving as an acronym for the tech they talk about. (They tacked on an “eal” after the “R” in “XR” for the “Real.”)
“We wanted a name that was captivating,” Alava said. “One that grabs people’s attention regardless of what their likes and dislikes are.”
People often think tech is intimidating or boring, Robinson said, when actually emerging technology heavily impacts everyone’s lives. Their goal is to make the topic approachable.
“Especially this year people are starting to wake up to how intertwined our lives are with tech,” Robinson said. “We are now traceable through social contacting. Algorithms gather information about us and draw conclusions about us.”
So far, the podcast has featured women like Monica Arés, who works in augmented and virtual reality at Facebook, and Christina Hernandez, a NASA engineer. They already have 16 episodes out with plenty more to come, and their guests are from all over the world—from the Triangle to South Africa to Australia.
Alava said her favorite episode was the session they held with Indi Young (a qualitative data scientist) that touches on empathy, while Robinson said her favorite was the episode with Tania Duarte (a Co-Founder of the UK-based NG)O We and AI) on the ethics of AI.
The women talk about their experiences working in a field where they’re the minority, and the obstacles that they’ve had to overcome to get to where they are.
Robinson and Alava are hoping to encourage more young women to join the tech field, because women have a unique perspective to add to the field, they said.
The pair is always looking for new topics and people to feature on the show, and welcome engagement of any kind from listeners and people in the community.
Find their latest episode here.