Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban has a suggestion for President-elect Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan: Make sure to spend some cash on robotics.
In a Sunday night post on his blog, Blog Maverick, Cuban said a “big chunk” of the $1 trillion Trump proposal should be spent on research and development, software, and design for robots “and every other facet of the robotics industry.”
Cuban said that if he were spending the money, he’d allocate 10% — or about $100 billion — to the effort.
“Unfortunately, none of the companies that actually make the robotics are based here in the USA,” wrote Cuban, the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. “That’s a problem that needs to be solved. We need to help develop domestic companies much like we did the electric-car and wind and solar industries. Even if it means trying to help pick winners.”
“We have to win the robotics race,” he continued. “We are not even close right now.”
Cuban added that China, South Korea, and European countries are offering billions in credits to support their robotics industries, whereas the US spends a fraction of that.
“That ain’t gonna work,” he wrote. “The good news, if there is any, is that according to the report, China is only spending $3 billion dollars a year on robotics. We need to quickly pass them by.”
“Why is this so important?” he continued. “Because technological change always accelerates. It never stagnates over time. Which means we are going to face the fact that if nothing in the States changes, we will find ourselves dependent on other countries for almost everything that can and will be manufactured in a quickly approaching future.”
While many Americans voted for Trump in hopes of stunting globalization or stunting the rapidly increasing automation of jobs, Cuban said Americans “have to face the fact” that jobs are going to be lost to robotics.
“The only question that needs to be answered is which country will create and own the best robotic technology and have the infrastructure necessary to enable it,” he wrote. “Right now it’s not the USA, and that needs to change. Our ‘infrastructure’ spending should look forwards, not backwards, so that we can be the robotics hub of the world.”
Trump’s infrastructure plan calls for $550 billion of the $1 trillion proposal to be publicly funded, and his push for increased infrastructure spending has been more vocally favored by congressional Democrats rather than Republicans.
Cuban, who was a prominent supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and a critic of Trump on the campaign trail, recently dubbed Trump the country’s “No. 1 draft pick.”
“He’s who we put our hopes and dreams with, and we’re going to believe in him,” he said. “Right now it’s a little bit easier because we haven’t played a game yet.”