People talking about Uber losing money remind me of the same folks who cast doubts on Google's business model.
I'll tell you why: both companies don't really give a shit about the first phase of what they're building. Google never sought to build a search engine. Larry and Sergey were looking to build the means to an end for strong artificial intelligence by building the world's largest dataset on human intent. They have said as much dozens of times.
Adwords, now the world's largest marketing grosser, was merely a happy coincidence.
Similarly, while it may be true that Uber's team may not have been believers at the beginning, it is clear now that they are seeking nothing less than the complete automation of logistics and transport, and the complete triumph of capital over labour. The carve-out of Carnegie Mellon's automotive research team and the recent acquisition of smart-truck company Otto, as well as Travis Kalanick's recent statements on self-driving cars only serve to confirm this truth.
Uber is bigger than an app that helps other people deliver other humans. The company wants to be the data and intelligence layer for transportation around the world for humans, without humans. That's a vastly different thing to debate, and people should realize this.
Positives: Nearly 1.3 million people around the world die in road crashes each year, on average a stunning 3,287 deaths a day. A well-tuned, automated system can dramatically decrease this rate.
Cars and trucks account for one-fifth of America's carbon emissions. A well-coordinated system of automated cars could save carbon emissions, reduce the need for parking spaces in urban areas and reduce air pollution.
Negatives: Stunning income inequality. The taxi industry employed 233,700 people in America alone in 2014. Many of Uber's profits will go to shareholders privileged enough to invest at scale in a privately held enterprise (accredited investors, by law) instead of working/middle class drivers.
You can argue back and forth about what's happening with Uber now. It'll be irrelevant to what Uber wants to become.