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University of Gothenburg

Research group

The research group consists of researchers of differing backgrounds and experiences who all share an interest in AI and how it relates to the law in theory and practice.

Gregor Noll

Gregor Noll has an extensive track record of mapping the effects of AI, digitalization and advanced technology onto law at large, and international law in particular. His seminal Weaponizing Neurotechnology? International Humanitarian Law and the Loss of Language (open access, 2014) was an early intervention into what is now a burgeoning field, showing why it is impossible to assess whether the use of technologically advanced weapons system bypassing human consciousness is lawful under the laws of war. Later, Noll co-edited and co-authored War and Algorithm (Rowman & Littlefield 2019), a volume that looks at the increasing power of algorithms in emerging forms of warfare from the perspectives of critical theory, philosophy, legal studies, and visual studies. A 2020 lecture at Harvard Law School based on his contribution to this book is available online. Noll is also the initiator and editor of the first textbook on AI and law in the Swedish language, scheduled for publication by Studentlitteratur by mid-2021. In the past years, Noll built a vibrant milieu on AI, digitalization and law at Gothenburg university, where researchers from various disciplines contribute to a variety of ongoing research projects funded by major donors. Together with Professor Elena Raviola (SBEL, Gothenburg), Noll wrote an application that brought Swedish donor WASP-HS to fund one new senior and two new doctoral positions within a five-year project on AI, the Societal Contract and Democracy.

Noll is the current holder of the Torsten Söderberg Research Chair at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg and a professor of international law at its Department of Law.

Gregor Noll

Gregor Noll

Professor of International Law

Matilda Arvidsson

I am a researcher in law and lecturer at the Department of Law. I am also the course director for Migration Law (Legal Clinic with Street Law). The following 7 abstracts are taken from my various current articles.

1. M Arvidsson (2020 forthcoming) “The ‘turn to history’ and the year of the yearbook of international law”, Netherlands Yearbook of International Law

Abstract: This article concerns the relation between time, progression and history in international law. It places the yearbook in a broader context of the ‘turn to history’ in international legal scholarship, and asks how the ‘year’ figures as a placeholder of meaning and authority in international law and its’ narratives. Drawing on recent scholarly debates on narration in relation to international law and emerging technologies – especially artificial intelligence (AI) – the article calls for a book of international law that knows of no year, no history, no beginning and no perpetually postponed end.

2. M. Arvidsson & B. Sjöstedt (2021 forthcoming) ’Ordering Human-Other relationships: International Humanitarian Law and Ecologies of Armed Conflicts’, in F. Mégret, U. Natarajan, and V. Chapaux (eds) International Law and Anthropocentrism (Abingdon: Routledge).

Abstract: Drawing on recent scholarship on (post)anthropocentrism, law and the environment this chapter maps the international humanitarian law (IHL) and its ‘legal ordering’ of human and other relationships during armed conflict and disaster. Our chapter focuses on two examples of human-other ordering during armed conflict: human-environment ordering; and human- artificially intelligent (AI) swarming drone ordering. The chapter starts with a brief introduction to how ‘the posthuman’ sits within contemporary armed conflicts, IHL and the military-industry complex, what the Deleuze-Guattarian ‘war machine’ is or can be, as well as how IHL orders armed conflict ecologies through its main principles and norms. We then go on to look at our two examples after which we expand on the main point of our chapter: while IHL orders human-other human as well as human-other relations in ways reminiscent of how feminist, potshumanist and post-anthropocentric environmental international legal scholarship has already pointed out as excluding, binary, and hierarchical modes of subjugation and ‘exiling’, we find that IHL is primarily trying to order and control the affects and powers of the war machine. In doing so IHL has some potential in developing in a post-anthropocentric direction, specifically in re-orienting its focus from armed conflicts to violent outbursts. By putting more emphasis on how war machines - e.g. armed groups (including state armies, although with the caveat that this involves state appropriation of war machines), volcanos, packs of wolves and viruses - are to be ordered in a shared posthuman ecology (rather than having as its continuous focus the “traditional” state army warfare), such a reorientation, we suggest, would involve protection on a more equal basis: protecting environments - inclusive or not of humans - from violent war machines, and war machines from state violence and appropriation.

3. M. Arvidsson (2020b) ‘The swarm that we already are: Artificially Intelligent (AI) swarming “insect drones”, targeting and international humanitarian law in a posthuman ecology’, 11(1) (2020) Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, 114–137.

Abstract: Over the last fifty-odd years the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has launched programs aiming at emulating and incorporating insect technologies in military technology. The US Army Unmanned Aircrafts Systems Roadmap 2010–2035 has specified insect swarming as a field of development for Unmanned Aviation Systems. While legal scholarship has paid substantial attention to drones, autonomous weapons systems and artificial intelligence (AI), developments based on insect swarming technologies have been largely ignored. This article takes emerging AI swarming technologies in military warfare systems as its starting point and asks about the significance of the swarming insect in and through contemporary International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and warfare. Taking up Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's notions of ‘the swarm’ and the ‘war machine’, and drawing on critical environmental legal scholarship, the article argues that rather than dispersing the human from its central position in the ‘targeting loop’, the increased interest in insects for commercial and warfare purposes is an intensification of transhumanist desires and an acceleration of late capitalism. As a counter-move, and as a contribution to a posthumanist turn in IHL, the article calls for becoming-insect, swarm and minoritarian as an epistemological practice and ontological shift in IHL and its critical scholarship, resulting in a posthumanitarian legal ordering of becoming.

4. M. Arvidsson (2018) ‘Targeting, Gender, and International Posthumanitarian Law and Practice: Framing the Question of the Human in International Humanitarian Law’ 44(1) (2018) Australian Feminist Law Journal, 9-28. 

Abstract: Focusing on targeting law and practice in contemporary high-tech warfare, this article brings international humanitarian legal scholarship into conversation with posthumanist feminist theory for the purpose of rethinking international humanitarian law (IHL) in terms of the posthuman condition. I suggest that posthumanist feminist theory – in particular Rosi Braidotti’s scholarship – is helpful to the IHL scholar for understanding and describing high-tech warfare that recognises the ‘targetable body’ as both material and digital. Posthumanist feminist theory, moreover, avails us of a much-needed critical position from which to reframe the question of what the ‘humanitarian’ aim in IHL is: who, and what, can the ‘human’ of this humanitarianism be? This article sets out the framework for a posthumanitarian international law as an ethical-normative order worthy, as Braidotti puts it, of the complexity of our times.

5. M. Arvidsson (2021) ’Maskininlärning och migrationsrättsliga avgöranden: Vad ett självlärande system kan lära sig och andra om den digitala rättstillämpningens möjligheter och begränsningar’ i G. Noll (red.) AI och rätten (Lund: Studentlitteratur).

6. Artificial intelligence and aging: How new technologies enhance the legal capacity of the ageing individual?

Research project funded within the framework of AgeCap, University of Gothenburg

The project is intended to investigate whether and in what way AI can extend the aging individual's own decision-making capacity. The center is to identify the extent to which the current good men's and trustees' institutes, as well as the less formalized practices through which decisions are currently made by close relatives and care staff, can be supplemented with individually adaptable AI-based decision-making tools.

The aim is to develop, together with other researchers, and in consultation with relevant interest groups and potential end users in public administration and municipal elderly care, AI-based and individually adaptable decision support for people whose ability to make legal decisions deteriorates due to increasing age and illness.

7. Equal treatment in asylum law cases: Can machine learning contribute to better decisions?

Research project funded by Vinnova

In our project we ask if and how machine learning can contribute to equal treatment, and in particular gender equality, in asylum law decisions. The project aims to contribute to innovative AI solutions, strategic collaborations and partnerships within the field of law, governance and innovation-driven entrepreneurship. Three partners are active in the project: the Swedish Migration Agency,  the Department of Law at the University of Gothenburg – represented by Matilda Arvidsson (heading the project) and Gregor Noll –Smartr AB. Our project addresses the societal challenges of Agenda 2030, in particular gender equality (SDG 5, in particular 5.1) and reducing inequality (SDG 10). With competence in machine learning and legal specialist competence in equality issues, the project identifies how decision-making in asylum cases at the Swedish Migration Board can be improved. The study maps the conditions for and feasibility of a decision support system. In the long term, we want to develop a system for decision support that reduces the risk of discrimination within the Swedish Migration Board's asylum decision system.

Matilda Arvidsson

Matilda Arvidsson

Researcher in law, Lecturer