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Uber Eats is Using AI to Surpass Its Competitors (And It's Working)
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By: Ashley Sams

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October 3rd, 2018

Uber Eats is Using AI to Surpass Its Competitors (And It's Working)

At the Marketing AI Institute, we read dozens of articles on artificial intelligence every week to uncover the most valuable ones for our subscribers and we curate them for you here. We call it 3 Links in 3 Minutes. Enjoy!

Uber Eats Leverages AI Perfectly

Even though meal delivery service Uber Eats has only been in existence for four years, it’s currently the fastest-growing business of its kind in America. In fact, Uber Eats is currently posting a $6 billion bookings run rate in a $100 billion-plus market.

According to VentureBeat, this level of growth is largely attributed to artificial intelligence.

Uber Eats has more than 10 years of data and insights to utilize from its parent company, Uber, which was largely founded on data. With this information, Uber Eats has gotten really good at optimizing which drivers to send for pickups.

One of the key differentiators between Uber Eats and other food delivery apps like GrubHub is lower estimated delivery times. Machine learning algorithms consider a number of factors before sending a driver on a trip, such as a restaurant’s load at any time, how long it generally takes to cook a given order, estimated time the meal will be done and how long it will take to pick up and deliver to the user while the meal is still hot.

Uber Eats also uses AI to determine which restaurants to onboard to their system. It can identify what level of coverage an area requires based on demographic data and which restaurants are going to serve the area best, upholding Uber Eats’ quality reputation.

U.S. Needs to Double AI Funding to Compete with China

Kai-Fu Lee, former Google, Microsoft and Apple AI practitioner, told CNBC that the U.S. needs to double their funding in AI research in order to keep up with China.

Currently, the United States has no formal AI strategy. China, on the other hand, who intends to be the best in AI innovation by 2030, implemented their AI plan last year. Lee told CNBC, “Double the AI research budget would be a good start, given that all other countries are so much farther behind the U.S., and we're looking for the next breakthrough in AI.”

The next big AI achievement could come from the United States. More funding could mean more government-sponsored competitions like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Robotics Challenge. It could also mean that American researchers wouldn’t have to work so hard for government grants and funding.

Check out Kai-Fu Lee’s new book “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order” for more.

AI Talent War Between Facebook and Google

Facebook’s AI division, Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR), plans to double its size by 2020—and they’re right on course, says Forbes.

Currently, there are 180-200 FAIR staff members, but as Facebook continues to infuse their platforms with AI, this number will likely increase to around 400 people in the next two years.

However, finding the right talent to grow FAIR could be a challenge. The AI talent pool isn’t large to begin with and other tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Apple are all vying for top AI talent.

For example, since Google acquired AI company DeepMind in 2014, the AI team has grown from less than 100 employees to over 700.

When asked why FAIR isn’t building their team to match the size of DeepMind’s, head of FAIR in New York Rob Fergus said, "It's a market supply. We only really go for the very best people and there's only so many of them on the market each year so there's a limitation there. There are people who they [DeepMind] make offers to who we don't. Of course, we do fight a lot. We have huge battles with them for the best talent. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose."

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About Ashley Sams

Ashley Sams is a consultant at PR 20/20. She joined the agency in 2017 with a background in marketing, specifically for higher education and social media. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of The University of Mount Union where she earned a degree in marketing.

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