The bosses of two of the most talked-about technology companies – Uber and Airbnb – have defended the sharing economy at TED conference talks in Vancouver.

Both firms are under scrutiny from governments around the world over concerns about how they operate, but were keen to play up the benefits of their disruptive models of commerce.

Uber’s founder Travis Kalanick compared the firm’s disputes with regulators with so-called Jitney buses which started appearing in US cities in 1914, offering lifts for five cents a ride. By 1919 they had been “regulated out of existence” he said.

“It goes back to the lesson of the Jitney. If they had not been taken off the roads would cities now have parks instead of parking lots?” he asked.

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