The Socio-Legal Relevance of Artificial Intelligence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article draws on socio-legal theory in relation to growing concerns over fairness, accountability and transparency of societally applied artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The purpose is to contribute to a broad socio-legal orientation by describing legal and normative challenges posed by applied AI. To do so, the article first analyzes a set of problematic cases, e.g., image recognition based on gender-biased databases. It then presents seven aspects of transparency that may complement notions of explainable AI (XAI) within AI-research undertaken by computer scientists. The article finally discusses the normative mirroring effect of using human values and societal structures as training data for learning technologies; it concludes by arguing for the need for a multidisciplinary approach in AI research, development, and governance.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law
  • Computer Science


  • Algorithmic accountability and normative design, Applied artificial intelligence, Explainable AI and algorithmic transparency, Machine learning and law, Technology and Social change
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573
Number of pages593
JournalDroit et Société
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 11
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Stefan Larsson is a lawyer (LLM) and Associate Professor in Technology and Social Change at Lund University, Department of Technology and Society. He holds a PhD in Sociology of Law as well as a PhD in Spatial Planning. In addition, Dr. Larsson is a senior researcher and head of the Digital Society program at the Swedish think tank Fores and scientific advisor for the Swedish Consumer Agency as well as the AI Sustainability Center. His research focuses on issues of trust and transparency on digital, data-driven markets, and the socio-legal impact of autonomous and AI-driven technologies. Among his publications: — “Algorithmic Governance and the Need for Consumer Empowerment in Data-Driven Markets”, Internet Policy Review, 7 (2), 2018. — Conceptions in the Code. How Metaphors Explain Legal Challenges in Digital Times, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

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Stefan Larsson, 2021, (Accepted/In press) The European Union and the Technology Shift. Bakardjieva Engelbrekt, A., Leijon, K., Michalski, A. & Oxelheim, L. (eds.). Cham: Springer Nature Switzerland AG, (Palgrave Macmillan).

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Stefan Larsson, 2020 Oct 2, In : Asian Journal of Law and Society. p. 1-15 15 p.

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Related activities

Larsson, S. (Keynote/plenary speaker), Laetitia Tanqueray (Chair)
2020 Oct 22

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Larsson, S. (Interviewee), Fredrik Heintz (Interviewee)
2020 May 8

Activity: OtherMedia participation

Larsson, S. (Interviewee)
2020 Feb 26

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