Uber & Geometric Intelligence

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Uber’s announcement that it has acquired Geometric Intelligence and its 15 ai computer scientists can be viewed on the surface as yet another in a months’ long string of talent raids by the mega-tech firms on academic departments and ai startups.

At another, more strategic level, it could be viewed as more evidence of capitulation on the part of the mega vendors—an acknowledgement that the more “cognitive” problems in upper level decision-making by ai machines appears to be a long way away from the mass market. Instead, we see a rush of research investment into lower level problems perhaps more susceptible to solution by the kinds of learning, visualization, and robot control technologies available today.

Uber has put the fear of the almighty in the likes of Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon with their agility in creating a massive consumer franchise which has disrupted ride services worldwide and created a multi-billion dollar company with the potential to re-intermediate not only existing online franchises but also physical world retail, entertainment, and other consumer services. With the natural “pull” of convenience and connection to the carbon-based universe, Uber stands to leverage smart services with a kind of physical connection to its customers that other tech giants currently lack.


About the Author:

Hadley Reynolds is Co-founder and Managing Director at the Cognitive Computing Consortium. He is a leading analyst of the search, content management, and knowledge management industries, researching, speaking, and writing on emerging trends in these technologies and their impact on business practice. He currently leads the publications program at the Consortium.
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