UBER IS WORKING on an artificial intelligence (AI) system that will detect when users are drunk so drivers can refuse to pick them up.
At least that's according to a patent application spotted by CNN with the title "predicting user state using machine learning".
In something akin to Black Mirror storyline, the patent application outlines the idea that clever algorithms can suss out a person's behaviour from watching their day-to-day behaviour.
By looking at the angle a phone is held at or how a person is walking the system could work out when an Uber user has had a few too many sherries.
Given drunk people are not known to be the most lucid, sensible or even polite people, certainly here in the UK, the system could alert Uber drivers to the fact their upcoming customer is flying a few sheets to the wind.
As such, and we're spit-balling ideas here, the driver could refuse to pick up a drunk passenger opting to go after teetotallers instead.
Uber is often used by British merrymakers after Friday post-work drinks or a Saturday night of revelry, so the company could potentially alienate a solid customer base, if indeed its patent plans lead to a drunk-sniffing system.
As such, some future revellers could be left to fend for themselves or seek out pricer "I ain't going south of the river mate" black cabs or traditional taxi services.
Such a move could be bad news to Uber's already fractious relationship with London, let alone other nations with a rather liberal attitude to getting tanked up on booze. It could also be a privacy-invading step too far and see people jump to Lyft instead of letting Uber track their day-to-day doings.
That being said, the patent application could lead to absolutely nothing, as many tech companies file for fancy tech patents only to do nothing with them once their granted, unless there's an opportunity for some patent trolling.
If we had a tenner for every time Samsung or Apple filed a patent for swish looking semi sci-fi tech, we'd have enough for a slap-up meal. µ
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