Larsson, Stefan

Lund University
20 Jun 2018 to 20 Jul 2018
Experience in Oñati: 

In general, my research tends to deal with new technologies and their societal and socio-legal
implications. This is in my case often pursued in terms of what data-driven digital platforms or
other phenomena of digitisation means for an ongoing restructuring of society, its markets, our
everyday lives and its regulatory or supervisory possibilities in fields like consumer rights, privacy
and data protection. My work at the IISL in June and July 2018 focused regulatory aspects of
digital platforms as well as new insights on both benefits and challenges with automated and selflearning
algorithmic systems, primarily framed as artificial intelligence (AI). Some of the
emerging insights regards the challenges of ensuring “fairness” into these systems and how to
deal with accountability and normativity in large-scale automated processes, basically circuling
around the notions of transparency, supervision and need for explanations of what it is “the
machines” actually do or reproduce. Many of the societal problems in terms of social bias,
injustices or discrimination are now directed toward the automated and machine learning tools that
increasingly drive our economies, with its targetted marketing, personalized feeds and search
engines, credit assessments, and even autonomous vehicles depending on “computer vision”,
image-recognition and realtime autonomus decision-making in traffic.
So, given the very rich socio-legal library and the inspiring milieu of the IISL, I’ve tried to
combine notions of the law in “these books” and to apply it on the debates around AI and
algorithms “in practice”, to paraphrase Roscoe Pound. The insights in sociology of law that has
been fostered over long time, I am certain, do have many important contributions to make in the
challenges of new technologies, the digital society as I see it, including coming developments of
AI and machine learning being deployed in society and everyday life.

I love the richness of the library, the architecture of the building, the calmness of the city, and the
dedication of the personnel. My children especially liked the ladders in the library and that they
could find so many pokemons on the central plaza in Oñati.