Business and Economy

Shark Tank billionaire Mark Cuban: ‘If I were going to start a business today,’ here’s what it would be – CNBC

Tech titan Mark Cuban listens to entrepreneurs’ countless business ideas thanks to his starring role as a judge on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

But Cuban recently revealed what areas of technology he’d focus on if he were to launch a business today. “If I were going to start a business today, I’d build it around Alexa and Google Home,” he told Recode’s Peter Kafka at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.

Alexa is the virtual assistant developed by Amazon. Google Home is the speaker system through which customers can use the voice-activated virtual assistant, accordingly named Google Assistant.

“Alexa skills and scripting Alexa skills is really, really easy. But everybody thinks it’s really, really hard. And so that disconnect is a great opportunity. And so I told my kids [and] other kids, learn how to script, and just go get your neighbors and set up all of these Alexa tools and you’ll make $25, $30, $40 an hour,” Cuban said.

“Scripting Alexa skills” means coding voice commands to enable the robot to complete the intended task.

Cuban also sees artificial intelligence as having a big future. He says the impact of AI will be more profound than most people realize.

“As big as PCs were an impact, as big as the internet was, AI is just going to dwarf it. And if you don’t understand it, you’re going to fall behind. Particularly if you run a business,” he said.

“I mean, I get it on Amazon and Microsoft and Google, and I run their tutorials. If you go in my bathroom, there’s a book, ‘Machine Learning for Idiots.’ Whenever I get a break, I’m reading it, ” Cuban told Kafka.

Where the internet was once a futuristic idea, it’s now a mainstay of everyday life. So, too, will AI, according to Cuban.

He warns people to not take AI and its impact for granted. “If you don’t know how to use it and you don’t understand it and you can’t at least at have a basic understanding of the different approaches and how the algorithms work,” he said, “you can be blindsided in ways you couldn’t even possibly imagine.”

Even with strong interests in AI and virtual intelligence, the 60-year-old Cuban, who is worth $4.1 billion, said he’s no longer motivated to start a business, at least not in the way he was when he was younger.

“The good news of having had the level of success I have is obvious, but the bad side is I kinda lost that piss and vinegar because I can think of 50 businesses I could start right now, … but I don’t want to give up time at home and all that,” Cuban said in 2017 a conversation with Arianna Huffington. “So that’s kind of the trade-off.”

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”

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