A new era of bad neighbour disputes

The rise of modern, cheap technology has brought new issues for politicians, lawyers and those disrupting the future. But it also bleeds into everyday life as these tools and toys become commonplace.

We’ve already become used to seeing news about drones flying where they shouldn’t, or invading the privacy of those around us, or being used to replicate cool Star Wars speeder racing. Let alone the uproar over selfie sticks, Google Glass, wearables and constantly checking your phone in company. I had a rather pleasant experience of the future of motorcycling when KTM invited me to check out some of their new electric off-road bikes.


Photo by Joseph Barrientos (CC Licence)

It means that we’re going to have all sorts of new disputes on a non-technical, urban neighbour level. And many aren’t obvious.

For instance – the fact that robot lawnmowers annoy astronomers won’t be a huge problem – but what happens when we have everyone using as much radio frequency as possible to control every autonomous home gadget? How do you settle the problem of interference with 20 neighbours? When I raced radio control cars, we’d carry a bag of RC Crystals which meant we could change frequency in the event of conflicts, but it still took a bit of juggling at times, and the occasionally car launching itself into the distance until the problems were resolved.

Or off-road motorcycles. The normal problem is noise, but the electric bikes are so quiet you can barely hear them – removing a big problem for locating purpose built tracks. At the same time, it might mean you end up with enduro riders ‘sneaking’ up on your while you’re walking – and wildlife might take time to get used to the quieter risks as well.


Me riding a KTM Freeride E-XC

It’s going to be fun seeing how all these problems manifest and hopefully get solved for non-technical people trying to live their lives. Most people are still trying to avoid having to figure out how routers, wifi and smart phones work in favour of just having a working television, computer and Xbox whilst fixing their meals and doing the laundry.