I have the same experience with taxi drivers. They either talk or don’t. You can pick up on the street gossip if you’re in the mood. It is mostly up to you, if you wanna talk to them, they’ll talk (or answer questions at least).
How is this the “Uber thing”?
In my opinion, Uber is all money. And with Uber, you don’t have to say a word to the driver. He knows all he needs to know and there is no physical money exchange.
Heck, put a black glass between you and the driver, you wouldn’t even know there’s a human being driving you (and with the rise of self-driving cars, that soon might happen soon).
So, not only it does not “make us talk” or socialize, but for the first time, if you don’t feel like it, you don’t even have to say “Hi” or even look at the lerson.
All Uber is doing, especially in the less rich countries, is runnig taxi drivers and taxi companies (small and big) out of business and disrupting the local economy.