Entrepreneurs

Billionaire tech titan Mark Cuban on A.I.: ‘It scares the s--- out of me’

Multi-billionaire tech titan and star of CNBC's "Shark Tank" Mark Cuban says that most people are underestimating the potential of artificial intelligence to change the world we live and work in.

He's especially intimidated by the pace at which new technology advances: "It scares the s--- out of me," says Cuban, speaking to Ozy Fest conference attendees in New York City.

"However much change you saw over the last 10 years with the iPhone, over the last 20 years with the Internet, over the last 30 years with PC's, etc., that is nothing. Nothing!" Cuban says.

"Things are getting faster, processing is getting faster, machines are starting to think," he continues. "And either you make them think for you or they will take your place and do the thinking for you."

Mark Cuban at OZY FEST
Mark Cuban at OZY FEST

That could be problematic for many people.

"If you are in a job where you have to think, you need to start paying attention, because I guarantee you, your employer is trying to figure out ways to use technology and use neural networks to do a lot of the thinking that employees currently are doing," says Cuban.

"If you have spreadsheets in your job, ... now, the networks can do all that for you. And if they can go through 10 zillion iterations, they will come up with things we can't," he says.

"So it's not so much robots — Rosy the Robot is going to take your job — so much as it is the types of thinking you will do, the types of consulting, the type of valuations. It's all going to change."

To be more knowledgeable about advances in AI, Cuban has read and recommends "The Master Algorithm," by Pedro Domingos. He also listens to the podcast "This Week in Machine Learning and AI," he says.

Cuban's comments are part of a fierce debate among Silicon Valley tech billionaires regarding the effect artificial intelligence will have on the world.

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the potential is frightening.

"I have exposure to the most cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned by it," Musk said earlier in July. "AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization."

Meanwhile, Facebook CEO and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg says AI will make our lives better and safer.

"With AI especially, I am really optimistic," says Zuckerberg. "I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios — I just, I don't understand it. It's really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible."

Musk counters that the CEO of Facebook's "understanding of the subject is limited."

As the tech elite argue over the potential implications, Cuban says the U.S. is losing ground in the innovation race.

"Montreal and Vancouver and Toronto are just kicking our a-- in artificial intelligence. So is China," he says.

See also:

Elon Musk: 'Robots will be able to do everything better than us'

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates think it's 'crazy' to view job-stealing robots as bad

There's one thing that motivates Elon Musk above all else

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Disclaimer: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."