• Uber applies for patent to spot drunken passengers

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    ATLANTA - Uber has applied for patent to use artificial intelligence to spot drunk passengers.

    The company says the technology could help “improve the rider and driver experience." They sent Channel 2 this statement saying:

    “We are always exploring ways that our technology can help improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers. We file patent applications on many ideas, but not all of them actually become products or features.”

    But critics have expressed concerns.

    On Thursday night, Channel 2's Nefertiti Jaquez rode along with an Uber driver about the patent. Reginald Davis didn't hold anything back.

    “I think it’s invasive, and cause people not to use ride-share,” he said. “How is it honestly going to tell the difference between a drunk person and someone with a physical disability?”


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    According to the patent, the technology could measure a user’s walking speed, watch for unusual typos when requesting a ride or sense whether a phone is swaying or being held at an unusual angle. 

    This, it suggests, would help Uber "take an action to reduce undesired consequences" related to intoxicated passengers.

    “It kinda feels like it defeats one of the many benefits of Uber and also is not having people on the road driving while drunk, because they can get an Uber ride to get home safely,” Davis said.

    If it does become a feature, it could potentially allow drivers to refuse trips. 

    Although, some, like Davis, don’t mind. 

    “I don’t have a problem picking up somebody who’s been drinking,” he said.

     

     

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