Calm down !
"AirBNB is in precisely the same space as Uber.
a) for the "OMG get dah gov outta my transaction" crew - Uber uses roads, fuel and emergency services (yes dammit they do so have accidents) - which are typically provisioned or managed by gov."
Everyone pays for these services, quite a lot in fact. The question is "how" do they pay? Should the lorry driver (who beats up on road services far more than any Uber driver) pay more taxes? Actually he (or his company) usually does. In the sharing economy, we could objectively review all of these equations and replace them with better ones.
How about automated algorithms that automatically tax all vehicles based on use, to the penny/km/mile? Then correlate that data with actual road maintenance and service costs, instead of trusting a maze of localized bureaucracies to keep it all working and above board.
For example, how about seeking less corrupt, less pampered road building contract processes? Make them subject to universal public scrutiny and open, online bidding. I saw a roundabout near my house that cost 900,000 Euro to build. Does it really cost that much to build a roundabout? How would I know? But I bet I could do it for less.
I see LOTS of room for disruption here. In fact, I'd say this is only the beginning.
b) "In MANY jurisdictions one needs specialized insurance to cover liability in *both* cases - and from much of my reading there is no "requirement" that one prove that said coverages are in place when offering one's services on either."
Insurance companies use actuarial tables to calculate premiums, much of the cost of premiums can be attributed to the astronomical legal costs that occur in areas without "no-fault" regimes and uninsured drivers and the massive profits enjoyed by insurance companies in a fairly protected market. In sum, everyone pays for a few bad drivers and horrendous incidents. Usually, everyone must buy some insurance by law. The firm owners make a good living off their legally mandated casino. Uber is tipping over the craps table.
When I am elected dictator, I will insist we all subscribe to open-source, real-time, no-fault actuarial data from both meatbag-driven and driverless cars to calculate the real costs of insurance premiums with the stated intention of reducing them dramatically. These costs will be shared equally and managed with a reasonable profit for the cloud service that stores the data and computes the algorithms. Disrupt that.
c) "we only offer the connection, its not our fault" type of apps have no business being rated in the Billions - this is purely the fault of wallstreet types dreaming their pockets full."
I tend to agree with you here, sorry about your screaming cynic. But quite frankly, clear, transparent data and innovative solutions can help cut away much of the major-league abuses seen when big money unites with big government. It is the only way forward in my opinion.
Uber's valuation pales in comparison to the disruptive losses managed by ADGs, Enrons, AT-Ts, Lehman Brothers and other fat-cat, waiting-to-explode, TBTF business models. UBer(s) are also providing people with jobs in an increasingly jobless economy, which in itself, is a pretty novel concept these days.
In short, we NEED to look at new technology eco-systems and solutions for creating jobs and wealth, because too many of the old ones suck. Technology should be used to create jobs, not squeeze people out the door.