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Uber might use artificial intelligence to know when you’re drunk

Uber envisions a system integrated into the Uber app that can identify unusual behavior by would-be passengers using algorithms.

Artificial intelligence
Image: Pixabay

A new patent application suggests Uber is exploring identifying drunk passengers with artificial intelligence. In doing so, the ride-sharing company could better tailor its ride options for customers, according to CNN.

According to the application, Uber envisions a system integrated into the Uber app that can identify unusual behavior by would-be passengers using algorithms. This behavior could include typos, how precisely a user clicks on links and buttons, the time of day, walking speed, how long it takes to request a ride, and more.

By knowing this information, a driver may be warned of their passenger’s state — even before they pick them up. Based on this, passengers could be matched with drivers “with relevant experience or training.”

Harry Campbell, the author of The RideShare Guy blog, told CNN Money:

It would be cool if drivers got extra money for picking up drunk passengers. It’s not a big deal, but it definitely gets old after about the 25th time.

There’s no way of knowing whether Uber is serious about adding this type of artificial intelligence to its ride-sharing service. And remember, companies often apply for patents for products that never come to market. Nonetheless, something like this might be worth exploring, as long as Uber doesn’t start alerting the police when there are publicly intoxicated people walking around a Saturday night.

The authors of this patent application are current or former members of Uber’s Trust & Safety team.

What do you think? Should Uber figure out a way to alert drivers when a passenger might be drunk? Chat below.

For other Uber news, see: Uber is peddling their Jump Bikes service in parts of EuropeSan Francisco wants to know if Uber and Lyft drivers are employees or contractors, and Uber now has a panic button for riders because people are terrible.

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Bryan considers himself a well-rounded techie, having written articles for MakeUseOf, KnowTechie, AppAdvice, iDownload Blog. When he's not writing, he's being a single dad and rooting for his alma mater, Penn State, or cheering on the Patriots.

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