Uber turns to A.I. to identify drunk riders

Uber has partnered with organizations including Mothers Against Drunk Driving to encourage more people to call the service than to get behind the wheel after drinking too much. With the technology, Uber could better tailor its ride options for customers.

CNN first reported the patent, which describes a method of measuring the user's behavior on their phone against their usual behavior. The system relies on an algorithm to weigh a variety of factors, including typos, how precise a user clicks on links and buttons, the speed at which the user is walking, and how long it takes to request a ride.

Drivers may receive a notification that the person requesting the ride could be intoxicated, which also could result in more experienced drivers being routed to help riders who could present a problem for someone less experienced.

The patent adds that Uber drivers could be warned of a passenger's state before they're picked up, letting them prepare for the journey in advance.

But, of course, notifying a driver beforehand could set a few liabilities in motion: Like, as The Verge hypothesizes, motivating a driver to decline picking up Sloshy McSlosherson, which, to the wasted, could be code for, "You're too drunk, drive home instead". Numerous police reports and court documents involved passengers who were inebriated or drinking before getting into an Uber.

The patent application's authors are current or former members of Uber's Trust & Safety team, which works to make the company's products safer.

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