Even if cities around the world shut down Uber through regulation and courtroom manoeuvring, there’s no question that many of its ride-sharing innovations will remain part of the landscape. For almost two centuries, city cabs were big rolling question marks. Until getting in one, you had no idea whether your driver would subject you to speeding, rip-off routing, cellphone jabber, the reek of cigarettes and yesterday’s lunch. Customers don’t want to go back to that, and traditional taxi brokerages know it. Even as they fight Uber, they’re designing their own smartphone apps with Uber-like features. Such comments reflect the idea that Uber is part of a larger, unstoppable trend in the world of retail commerce more generally. The Internet is a 24-7 reverse auction for all life’s pleasures, from music to sex to your kid’s old bike. Why should urban transportation be any different?