Billionaire investor Mark Cuban is bullish on the future of artificial intelligence and has been for years.
And if the ABC’s “Shark Tank” star had to start a side hustle business today, that’s where Cuban would turn.
“I would become an expert in scripting for Alexa and Google Home and Cortana and go to any place that sold devices they supported and show them how much more they could do with a few hours of personalization,” he tells CNBC Make It.
By “scripting,” Cuban is referring to the process of coding voice commands to create so-called “skills,” which enable devices– like Amazon’s Echo or Echo Dot, which use artificial intelligence-enabled voice assistant Alexa, Google Home or Microsoft’s Cortana – to complete a task.
For example, enabling the iRobot Home skill allows you to simply say, “Alexa, ask Roomba to start cleaning,” to get your smart vacuum going. Or you can enable a skill like CNBC’s Flash Briefing to hear the day’s headlines.
“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,” Cuban previously told Recode’s Peter Kafka in 2019.
“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.”
Amazon provides free resources to teach anyone how to create skills for its platform. Amazon has an Alexa Skills Kit of tutorials online, for example.
“We think it should be simple for people of all skill levels to build for Alexa,” Rob Pulciani, the vice president of Amazon Alexa international, previously told CNBC Make It.
Amazon currently has over 40,000 skills for Alexa built by third-party developers.
When speaking at the 2020 CES Conference in January, Cuban also spoke about the potentially lucrative side hustle.
“If I were 16 years old, I would learn Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft stuff and learn how to create scripts,” he said. “Then go to my neighbors’ homes … and charge $30 an hour to set it up in their house.”Variety✔@Variety
If Mark Cuban was 16-years-old, he would learn “Google Home, I would learn Amazon Alexa… And I’d start learning how to create scripts,” and charge people to set it up in their homes #CES
At the conference he also compared the future of AI to the rise of the internet.
“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 s—,’” he said at the conference. “If you want to be relevant in business, you have to or you will be a dinosaur very quickly.”
In fact, Cuban has predicted that the world’s first trillionaire will be an AI entrepreneur.
“I am telling you,” he said at the SXSW Conference and Festivals in 2017, “the world’s first trillionaires are going to come from somebody who masters AI and all its derivatives and applies it in ways we never thought of.”