Uber and China Looking Out for Business Interests

Grind for June 13th, 2018

FIRST SIP:
“For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.”

– Tony Robbins



On Again Off Again

The Headline

Chinese phone company shells out $1 billion to stay in US

The Background

You’ve probably heard of ZTE – the Chinese telecom company that has been accused of using phones to spy on American citizens.

In April, ZTE was banned from working with US companies after it was found to have violated US sanctions by working with Iran and North Korea.

Without its US business partners, ZTE was forced to halt production.

The News

President Trump in May said he was working on a deal to get ZTE back into the US. In early June, the Administration announced ZTE had paid a $1 billion fine to regain access to US businesses.

In addition to the fine, the new agreement forces ZTE to alter its management and establishes a US “compliance team” that will work within ZTE for the next decade.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross insists the agreement gives the US the power to ensure ZTE does nothing wrong. “We will closely monitor ZTE’s behavior,” said Ross. “If they commit any further violations, we would again be able to deny them access to US technology as well as collect the additional $400 million in escrow.”

Others are questioning why Trump would offer a deal to a company that broke US sanctions and allegedly spied on US citizens.

“The Trump Administration is giving ZTE and China the green light to spy on Americans and sell our technology to North Korea and Iran, as long as it pays a fine that amounts to a tiny fraction of its revenue,” argues Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Last week, Trump met with his trade advisers to discuss Beijing’s offer to import an extra $70 billion in American goods over the next year.

The offer follows massive tariffs on China including steel, aluminum, washing machines, and solar panel components.



Access Denied

The Headline

New Uber program could block drunken passengers

The Grind

Uber in recent years has emerged as a safe alternative to drunk driving, but it looks like Uber doesn’t want your business if you’ve been drinking.

According to a CNN Money report last week, Uber filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a machine learning system that predicts an Uber passengers “state.”

Uber says the program will identify “tired” passengers who “might have difficulty locating the provider’s vehicle,” but what the program actually does is predict when a user might be intoxicated.

The Details

The innovative program analyzes the following factors to identify whether a passenger is in an “unusual” state:

— How accurately/quickly the passenger types in his information

— The angle at which the passenger holds his phone

— Location and time of day

— Walking speed

— Passenger’s history with Uber

Based on this information, the program could give Uber drivers a head’s up about the passenger’s state, change the pick-up/drop-off location to a safer area, block the passenger from joining a carpool, match the passenger with a more experienced driver, or choose to block the passenger from accessing a ride.

In my opinion, the new program is a lawsuit waiting to happen (and Uber really doesn’t need any more lawsuits).

I understand that Uber drivers don’t want to deal with rowdy passengers or clean vomit from their cars, but these annoyances have always been part of the ride-sharing industry.

If you don’t want to deal with drunk people, don’t work for Uber.




GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… President George W. Bush and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner are cousins!

April grew up in the Midwest, where she developed a passion for writing and storytelling at a young age. She transformed that passion into a degree at Indiana University (2008-2012), after which she promptly moved to South Florida to escape the cold.

Since then, April has worked as a content writer, editor, proofreader, blogger, tour guide, scriptwriter, and - I’ll admit it - bartender. Her favorite topics on which to write include health, politics, science & nature, and space exploration (anything but sports, really).

April is an amateur artist who enjoys spending time outdoors and inventing new cocktails. She currently resides in St. Petersburg, Florida

2 Comments for “Uber and China Looking Out for Business Interests”

Duane

says:

Maybe some Uber drives don’t care or feel they can handle drunks, but I don’t agree that if you drive for Uber you have to take drunks. Even public transportation drivers shouldn’t have to handle drunks. In fact, most of us probably don’t think we should have to deal with drunks even on the sidewalks or in public at all.

If you want an Uber ride, don’t get drunk.

Duane

says:

If you’re drunk and want or need a ride, maybe one Uber driver won’t take you but another one will. If the first one doesn’t, try again. Being drunk should burden no one but you.

You can wait for a driver who doesn’t care that you are drunk. Or walk.

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