Mark Cuban Talks Investing in AI and Regulating Big Tech at Variety’s CES Summit

LAS VEGAS — Maverick investor Mark Cuban sees the development of AI technology as a national priority that is on a par with the urgency to invest in the space program in the 1950s and ’60s.

Speaking at Variety’s annual Entertainment Summit at CES, Cuban offered his views on the imperative of AI for the U.S. economy, the merits of TikTok and the prospects that Big Tech will face a new regulatory environment in the not-to-distant future as calls increase in politics and culture to rein in the actions and market power of industry behemoths.

Cuban was most enthusiastic about the potential for AI to transform myriad aspects of the way people live, work and play. In the wide-ranging Q&A with Variety co-editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein, Cuban stated flatly that most American businesses have no choice but to integrate AI technology into their strategic plans. He said he’s been taking classes to better understand the growing world of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“If you don’t know AI, you’re the equivalent of somebody in 1999 saying ‘I’m sure this Internet thing will be OK but I don’t give a shit,’ ” Cuban said during the session at the Aria Las Vegas Resort, held as part of the CES conference that runs through Thursday. “If you want to be relevant in business, you have to or you will be a dinosaur very quickly. .. There’s going to be AI haves and have-nots. If you’re a have not, you might as well rip out all the computers in your office and throw away your phones. That’s how impactful it’s going to be.”


Listen to the full conversation with Cuban here:

Cuban noted that he has learned how to program his digital assistant Alexa to tease his children. “I’ll ask ‘Who is Jacob Cuban?’ And she’ll say ‘Jacob Cuban is also known as the fart master.’ “

The TikTok platform that has come on strong in the U.S. in the last year has also been a source of family bonding for the Cubans. As a father of three, he appreciates the mostly family-friendly focus of the platform known for its 15-second videos. He was shocked to see that a video of him dancing with his children got 1.6 million views in 20 hours.

“Families doing stupid dances that we like to do — it brings us together and it’s a completely different platform” than other big social media sites.

Pressed by Wallenstein about the prospect for heavier regulation coming to the tech world, Cuban said that some tighter governmental controls are probably inevitable. “Facebook has stepped in it so many times that somebody’s going to do something,” he said. “It’s inevitable that Facebook needs to be regulated and we’ll see what happens to Twitter.”

The devil of regulation, of course, is in the details. Cuban said he hopes there will be an intelligent and reasoned approach to regulation, “or the law of unintended consequences could bite us.”

But on the question of whether Facebook, Google and others are so dominant in their markets that they need to be broken up — as has become a rallying cry on the campaign trail — Cuban said the answer is an unequivocal no.

“That would be stupid,” he said. One important reason why he believes that is because the behemoths are “doing the research that’s keeping our country competitive with other countries in terms of AI.”

If Facebook, Google and Amazon were broken up, they would not have the same resources to invest in cutting-edge research.

“This is the new space mission,” Cuban said of AI. “We really, really, really, really, really need to invest in it. If we don’t, it could be cataclysmic.”

(Pictured: Andrew Wallenstein and Mark Cuban)

More Biz

  • Studio Babelsberg

    Terminated 'Matrix 4,' 'Uncharted' Film Crews Demand Help From Studio Babelsberg

    Germany’s Studio Babelsberg is seeking to find a settlement with hundreds of film crew members following the shutdown earlier this month of Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix 4” and Sony Pictures’ “Uncharted” amid the coronavirus outbreak. The production stop has left many independent film crew members without pay and more than 300 have formed a working [...]

  • 20190702_788LCDP_S4_tamaraarranz_DSC_9303.nef

    Spanish TV Industry Adjusts to Harsh Realities of the Coronavirus Crisis

    The Spanish TV industry has been shaken by the dramatic impact of the coronavirus crisis, but it is fighting back. Industry players have reacted fast, pushing forward with development, post-production and other business activities using online tools, and with the expectation of supporting funds from both public and private initiatives that will mitigate the effects [...]

  • Bob Chapek Bob Iger Disney

    Bob Iger to Give Up Salary, Other Senior Disney Executives to Take Pay Cuts

    Disney has joined the list of companies implementing sizable pay cuts for senior executives amid the upheaval caused by the coronavirus crisis. Bob Iger, who shifted from chairman-CEO to executive chairman last month, has opted to forgo his salary for the year. Bob Chapek, who succeeded Iger as CEO, has taken a 50% pay cut. [...]

  • Universal Music Group

    Universal Music Group Announces Coronavirus-Relief Initiatives

    Universal Music Group today announced several initiatives to bring relief to musicians, its employees and the music industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that in a short time has devastated so much of the global economy. It also pledged to assist its artists in their charitable efforts The non-UMG effort comes in the [...]

  • Dubai Expo

    Expo Dubai, Scheduled for October, Set to Be Postponed

    The highly anticipated Expo Dubai is expected to be postponed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic. A formal announcement about the world fair — which showcases the arts, business and technology — is expected shortly, following meetings between U.A.E. officials and representatives of 192 participating countries. On Monday, the event’s steering committee convened [...]

  • Tiger King

    Global Content Trends Reveal Unscripted Boom, Surge in Female-Led Dramas

    Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, during which millions of self-isolating individuals are tuning into home entertainment, the trends shaping global content have never been more evident. Recent findings by London-based media research firm Ampere Analysis, which delivered a presentation as part of virtual event MIPTV Plus, reveals an unscripted boom among streamers (best [...]

  • MIDEM 2020 Conference Cancelled, Reboots as

    MIDEM 2020 Conference Cancelled, Reboots as Digital Edition

    Reed MIDEM announces that Midem 2020, which was due to take place June 2-5 in Cannes, is cancelled due to concerns about the coronavirus. The next edition of Midem will take place June 1-4, 2021, in Cannes, the organization said. “The situation related to the coronavirus is changing daily, as are government announcements and restrictions. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content