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Uber’s CEO Says He’ll Always Find a Reason to Say His Company Sucks

Are you using generative AI at Uber?

AI is part of the Uber DNA. We use large models to predict your ETA, to process documents that drivers upload, to predict your next order on Uber Eats, or to predict whether someone wants an UberX driver or Comfort, Black, or Electric. With generative AI, we’ll be able to create a personalized assistant for drivers and couriers to maximize their earnings on their terms. If you have an issue, it will be able to talk with you in a very human, personalized way. We’ll be able to advise new drivers who may not know, say, where to go after they’ve dropped someone off.

You’ve also been leading a push in climate sustainability, setting some pretty ambitious goals.

Carbon neutral by 2030 in the US, Canada, and Europe, and by 2040 all over the world.

It’s a big hill to climb. Your most recent report said that only 4.1 percent of rides in the US and Canada were electric, and it hardly moved from the previous year. Around the globe, it’s worse.

We’re starting to get to the inflection point. In California right now, 10 percent of our miles are electric. In London, 20 percent of our miles are electric. So we are starting to penetrate. We’re investing $800 million in resources to subsidize the switch over to electric. In the next three to four years, you’re finally going to get more affordable EVs, and the penetration will really rise.

Some people might point out that every time someone takes an Uber as opposed to the subway, the environment suffers.

There are some use cases where you want to use an Uber and some where you want to take a subway. And by the way, we have subways on our app as well.

How broad do you plan to extend the platform you call One Uber? What are the boundaries?

I don’t think there are boundaries, I mean, we’re testing those boundaries. That’s what innovation is all about. We are very good as a company at wiring up anything that moves. We’ve gone from cars to bicycles, three-wheelers in India, trains, buses, but also to trucks. If you look at Uber Freight, we are wiring up to truckers and connecting them with shippers directly. I think there’s a very, very long road ahead of us. Ultimately, if you look at anything that moves in a city, we want to wire it up on demand.

You’ve been in charge for six years now. What have you found that you never expected when you took the job?

I knew that Uber was in the public eye. I read about it every day. But you don’t understand what it’s like until you’re in that seat. Expedia was an important company, but not nearly as many people cared about it. I thought I knew what running Uber encompassed, but the public glare has been a challenge.

Did you watch the TV series Super Pumped that made Uber look like a boys-club wrecking crew?

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