- A driver claims Uber has de-platformed him because of AI failure.
- Uber denies allegations and says the driver violated guidelines.
- The driver's plight on social media showing his old and new photo has gone viral.
Srikanth, an Uber driver who no longer has access to the platform, is viral on social media. Reason: his claim that he has been removed by Uber from the company's platform for drivers because the Uber app AI failed to recognise him after he got his hair and beard cropped short. The company denies claims made by Srikanth.
Srikanth, like Uber drivers, are supposed to do before starting their trip, had submitted some of his selfies to Uber systems through their app. These selfies were used by the Uber AI to recognise him and then subsequently were used to identify him each day before he started work. However, and so claims Srikanth, he went to offer his hair at Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam some time ago. With his hair now cropped short and beard turned into a stubble, when he tried to log in to the Uber app for work, the app allegedly failed to recognise him.
After he made multiple attempts to log in, the Uber AI kicked him out. Srikanth claims that he clicked multiple selfies from different angles in a bid to make the AI recognise him. But all his attempts failed. Soon after, he was banned by the app due to failed login attempts.
Uber, however, in a statement to India Today Tech said that the driver's claims were false. The company said that he was banned from the Uber network because he repeatedly violated community guidelines.
Srikanth's plight has been shared on Twitter by Shaik Salauddin, the national general secretary of Telangana State Taxi Association. He wrote, "Srikanth, who has been driving with @Uber_India for over 1.5 years now and holds a 4.67 star rating for the 1428 trips he completed, has been blocked by Uber. Srikanth shaved his head during a recent trip to Tirupati, and when he returned he found that he could not log in to his Uber partner app, which is his source of daily income. The algorithm did not identify Srikanth with his shaved head after he uploaded a routine selfie. This happened 33 days ago."
Salaudinn also said that Srikanth went to the local Uber office several times, but Uber support staff did not address his concerns.
However, Uber has a different story to tell. The company has denied the allegations. "The driver in question did not lose access to the Uber app due to a change in physical appearance. In fact, he had visited an Uber Partner Seva Kendra when he was unable to log in, and it was communicated to him that his access to the app had been removed due to repeated violations of our community guidelines," a company spokesperson told India Today Tech.