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Uber Creates Uber AI Labs To Develop Artificial Intelligence Tech


Uber is really serious about someday doing away with its drivers all together and introducing driverless cars. To that end the company has established Uber AI Labs to advance its research into the field of artificial intelligence.

The world’s largest ride sharing service recently acquired Geometric Intelligence, a New York based startup which works on AI and is using it as the base for its new division. The amount of the purchase price for the startup was not disclosed.

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The push to do away with drivers should concern Americans. Donald Trump won the Presidency, in part, on a promise to stop American companies from sending jobs overseas, whether through outsourcing or the owning of their own factories abroad. Trump did not, however, promise to stop companies from replacing their work forces with automated systems.

Uber has given quite a few people who can no longer find work that pays well above minimum wage a chance to earn a living. But the company has been criticized for doing so at the expense of traditional taxi drivers who must have licenses and follow all manner of regulations.

Now Uber is working on technology that will eventually do away not only with traditional taxi drivers, but its own affiliates.

Uber AI Labs will be based in San Francisco and its core team will be comprised of 15 employees from Geometric Intelligence. No word yet if the people will need to relocate to the other coast.

One person who is moving, however, is Geometric CEO and founder Gary Marcus, a neural science professor at New York University. He will head the new Uber AI Labs. Marcus told The Wall Street Journal, “We’re going to have the opportunity to do basic research that dovetails with [Uber’s] mission. That’s what gets academics like us excited. Driverless cars are going to be at the center of what we do.”

In a blog-post, Uber stated that it is, “is in the business of using technology to move people and things in the real world. With all of its complexity and uncertainty, negotiating the real world is a high-order intelligence problem.”

“It manifests in myriad ways, from determining an optimal route to computing when your car or UberEATS order will arrive to matching riders for uberPOOL, ” the post continued. “It extends to teaching a self-driven machine to safely and autonomously navigate the world, whether a car on the roads or an aircraft through busy airspace or new types of robotic devices.

Uber has already been testing self-driving cars with its customers for some time now. And it is not alone. Companies like Google have also been developing self-driving cars which can be used by everyone. The hope is that computers will be safer and take the human equation out of accidents. People could go to sleep in their back seats while their cars drive themselves.

At the same time, however, Uber drivers and taxi drivers everywhere must be concerned for their futures.



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