May 17, 2017

Mark Cuban's solution for AI-caused labor disruptions

Rick Bowmer / AP

Some takeaways from my on-stage conversation yesterday with Mark Cuban, from yesterday's Lerer Hippeau CEO Summit in New York (yes, LH is an Axios investor).

Cuban is a major believer in the earthquake power of artificial intelligence and machine learning, arguing that massive labor disruptions are coming sooner than later. His proposed solution isn't universal basic income, but rather twofold:

  • A lot of low-skilled jobs can be replaced by what will be an increased demand for data tagging and labeling. Not intellectually fulfilling work, but the 21st century version of an assembly line.
  • A broad expansion of programs like Americorps, believing that macro economic benefits from automation can be reallocated to places school classrooms and domestic infrastructure projects.

Other takeaways:

  1. He does not like to be referred to as a "venture capitalist," because he "helps his companies." Yes, Cuban said this as a VC-hosted event.
  2. Yes, he bakes in a "TV exposure" premium when thinking about valuations on Shark Tank.Cuban does not agree with my CEO President Theory, which posits that American voters will view future CEO candidates through a Trump prism (if successful, then we'll get more; if failed, then that's it for a while): "There's nobody like Donald Trump. He's just an idiot."If Cuban does run for president in a few years (something he won't rule out), he believes it's more likely to be against President Pence than President Trump.Cuban believes that Zaza Pachulia ― who once played for the Dallas Mavericks ― is "clumsy," not "dirty."
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