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Indiana Humanities program at 18th Street Brewery to ask if machines will replace us

18th Street Brewery will host Indiana Humanities' Chew on This: Will Machines Replace Us? at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12.

Are robots coming for your job?

That's the big question Indiana Humanities will tackle during Chew on This discussions next week at seven locations around the state, including one in Northwest Indiana. Urbanologist Max Grinnell, a widely published historian, professor and tour guide who splits his time between Boston and Chicago, will facilitate an in-depth conversation from 6:30  to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 18th Street Brewing at 5417 Oakley Ave. in downtown Hammond.

"When’s the last time you spoke to a teller at your bank? To a travel agent? When you go to the grocery, how often do you have an actual cashier check you out?," Indiana Humanities said in an event announcement. "We see the effects of automation all around us, from service and manufacturing, to the legal profession and trucking. Though only 6 percent of adults report losing hours or a job to automation, according to the Pew Research Center, another report by McKinsey Global predicts that 400 million jobs will be displaced by automation by 2030."

Attendees will share a meal and a talk about questions such as whether the economy will generate enough jobs to replace those eliminated by technology, whether automation is safe, how income would be distributed without work, and what people would do with all the added free time if enough jobs were rendered obsolete.

The conversation about "the risks and rewards of automation" is part of Indiana Humanities' ongoing Chew on This series that aims to "use the power of food and drink as a convener of people and catalyst for conversation to inspire thoughtful discussion on engaging topics" such as agriculture, prohibition, ethnic identity and food, the 25th anniversary of the Pan Am Games and epistemology.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.