Journalist and Author

are COMING to

Here's How to Win

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
5:30 - 8:30 pm
The Lounge at Iwan Ries
19 South Wabash Av.

Cocktails at 5:30, with the presentation at 6:00 for about thirty minutes,
followed by Q&A and general cocktail conversation.

Reservations with EventBrite Event Support are required.

(Select the green "Tickets" link.)

John Wasik is well known to the Cigar Society for his previous talks on being a "Road Scholar" for the Illinois Humanities Council; on Tesla and creativity; on John Maynard Keynes's personal investment strategies; and, way back at the Tower Club, on Samuel Insull and Thomas Edison.

About his most recent book, Winning in the Robotic Workplace, he writes: 

I’ll be blunt: Millions, if not tens of millions of jobs, are going away due to automation.  It’s not some paranoid fantasy about robots taking over.  It’s happening now and it's accelerating. In researching and writing my book, Winning in the Robotic Workplace, I found that automation is being integrated into every industry and is being adopted on a mass scale from major tech companies to legacy industries such as warehousing and logistics. Here are some highlights:

  • Some 4 million jobs have already been lost in manufacturing. And with advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence, millions of white-collar jobs are targeted for elimination. All told, some 73 million jobs could disappear by 2030, reports the McKinsey Institute.
  • No less than three highly respected studies have predicted that up to half of the workforce will be automated within the next 30 years. According to McKinsey, “in about 60% of occupations, at least one-third of the constituent activities could be automated, implying substantial workplace transformations and changes for all workers.”
  • Moreover, many researchers have not fully examined the total impact of new technologies like self-driving vehicles or automated supply chains, developments that imperil millions of high-paying blue-collarand white collarjobs.
  • Manufacturing and white collar industries have experienced—and will continue to experience—massive job reduction due to automation. Factories that used to employ tens of thousands of workers now employ only hundreds. In media, the silent, machine writing of some one billion press releases annually and automated reporting has replaced thousands of jobs. 
  • Forms and basic back-office services can be automated. Machines can read, store and interpret anything from facial images and documents to X-Rays. Virtually anything on paper that can be scanned, stored, sorted and analyzed is part of this new wave of automation.

What can we do to offset the rise of the robots? That is what my book is about.

Those who can mix technical knowledge with a broad range of liberal arts education will likely fare well. You’ll need to know history, ethics, science, literature and the skills to integrate this knowledge to the task at hand. The humanities give you a broad perspective and knowledge base.

The skills that need to be taught are already available in community and four-year colleges. Even some high- and middle schools are focusing on “project-based” learning that focuses on collaboration and communication. All we need to do is to fully embrace this new kind of learning, which should build on what we know in a changing world—and make it a lifelong project.

John F. Wasik is a professional journalist and speaker. He is the author of 18 books and over 1,000 journal articles, in Forbes, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Morningstar, Bloomberg, Reuters, and other journals. He has written extensively about business, investing, retirement, and investor protection. More recently, though, he says, "Science, technology, and creativity have stirred my soul." His book on Nikola Tesla, Lightning Strikes, explores the intersection between disruptive technology and what it means to be human. His most recent book on that theme is Winning in the Robotic Workplace.

Book Reviews

Rather than so many neo-Luddite laments, [Wasik's] book promises to equip us not just to "interface" with these new AI machines, but rather to direct them to ends that we desire. The new automation is truly liberating—and thus not a threat, but an aid to human flourishing. And this book points in the direction of the right preparation
a liberal arts education that needs to be continuing and lifelong. Liberal education is best for adults, who can synthesize these new tools with past experiences, creating new and innovative ideas.
     ---Fred W Beuttler, Assoc. Dean, Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, University of Chicago

Automation will drastically alter the workplace of the future. The number of processing jobs will shrink, but the ability to analyze, interpret, and think creatively will be even more prized. John Wasik's insightful book, Winning in the Robotic Workplace, will help you get on the winning side of this powerful trend.
     ---Don Phillips, Managing Director, Morningstar

Technology has been replacing jobs for over 100 years, but the pace of change today towards increased automation is alarming. Winning in the Robotic Workplace is an essential read if you want to understand who will win and lose in this new world.
     ---Travis Briggs, Chief Executive Officer, ROBO Global

About the Cigar Society of Chicago

ONE OF THE OLDEST AND greatest traditions of the city clubs of Chicago is the discussion of intellectual, social, legal, artistic, historical, scientific, musical, theatrical, and philosophical issues in the company of educated, bright, and appropriately provocative individuals, all under the beneficent influence of substantial amounts of tobacco and spirits.  The Cigar Society of Chicago embraces this tradition and extends it with its Informal Smokers, University Series lectures, and Cigar Society Dinners, in which cigars, and from time to time pipes and cigarettes, appear as an important component of our version of the classical symposium.  To be included in the Cigar Society's mailing list, write to the secretary at