Uber isn't known for being kind, gentle or even a good place to work. It is increasingly becoming one of the most evil big technology companies, underscored by recent moves to track users of its app around the clock and operate illegally in virtually all of its markets.
Its latest evil deed was to put Carnegie Mellon University, home to one of the world's top robotics research institutions, into crisis after it partnered with the school to gain access to top scientists and then paid them over the top salaries to leave the school.
Flush with cash after raising over $5 billion from investors, Uber paid the scientists bonuses of hundreds of thousands of dollars in addition to doubling their salaries to join the company’s new robotics tech center in Pittsburgh.
The surprise move came after the school and Uber announced a strategic partnership in which the school would “work closely” with the taxiservice to develop driverless car technology. That partnership was announced in February but Uber clearly had no intent of actually helping the school - it just wanted easy access to its talented researchers.
The sleazy tactic has led to one of America's finest university institutions being hollowed out and the school is struggling to recover.
Uber is working on self-driving cars that will replace its tens of thousands of contract drivers,whom the company openly despises. With no in house capability, the San Francisco company went to the one place in the world with enough talent to build a team instantly: Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center.
In all, Uber stole six principal investigators and 34 engineers, including NREC’s director, Tony Stentz, and most of its key program directors. Before Uber’s recruiting, NREC had only about 100 engineers and scientists developing technology for companies and the U.S. military.
With its program directors and senior scientists gone the school may never again regain its former glory.