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Genesis of AI, Life and Law (GAIa): a research environment based in Gothenburg & Lund

With digitalization, the premises for legal order have changed fundamentally. We come together in a common fascination of artificial intelligence, life and law; the ever more rapid emergence of new technologies, innovations, digitalization and the changing understanding of being human in society and the world at large. We critically map the role of law in those processes as they happen, rather than understanding law as regulating (or failing to regulate) existing phenomena ex post facto. Emphasising the idea of ‘genesis’ in our research, we study the conditions of emergence of e.g. norms, technologies and phenomena, as well as their effects. We thus bring together legal philosophical enquiries about our shared existence with practical implications of law’s commodifying and individualizing effects in the process of implementation and effectualization.

Relevant phenomena for our research interests include the internet of things, the dark web, artificially intelligent warfare, the market of ideas, biotech and biometrics, the (non/human) body, avatars, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and more.

We call into question established demarcations between law and ‘non-law’, offering instead an ontological position from within which there is no ‘outside of law’ in our history. By this we mean that we approach law as a territory or even an atmosphere that expands and contracts as the conditions for existence expand and contract.

In our approach to AI, life, and law we draw on some of the basic concepts brought to the fore by Bruno Latour in Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climactic Regime (Polity, 2017). Latour argues that the complex and ambiguous figure of Gaia offers an ideal way to disentangle the ethical, political, theological, and scientific aspects of the notion of Nature. Evoking Gaia as opposed to (what might have seen more intuitive) Earth, Life, Nature, Human, Technology, as separate entities - we are able to demonstrate the simultaneous entanglement of them all with the legal sphere. Challenging the environmentalist cause for e.g. ‘Nature’ we move away from anthropocene assumptions in law that the environment as well as other objects of law are seen as passive. Our research expands from the notion of Gaia as representative of the antecedent and contradictory figure through which current and future forms of subjects of intelligence - artificial and other - life and law are constantly rethought and reconfigured. ‘Genesis’ becomes in our thinking the force of productivity of the present conditions of law and life as always re-configuring in a simultaneously backwards- and forwards-looking turns. AI, life and law thus emerge in co-constitutive processes (rather than law responding ex post facto to objects of existence, or as regulatory means to specific ends): we take these processes to be the ever-expanding field of empiry for our research. This implies to rethink law beyond the human-nature and culture-technology divide with in turn means to consider law beyond its textual and humanistic constraints.

Our work brings together fields and disciplines as diverse as natural science, theology, innovation science, law, activism, and art as we take stock of the life-forms which we already are and do. While this may be seen as multi-, inter-, pluri-, and transdisciplinary, such an approach assumes that there are given boundaries between scholarly disciplines. With our approach, on the other hand, with the assumption that there is no outside our research moves from an interdisciplinary approach to a monistic approach as everything becomes entangled with law.

Page Manager: Christine Forssell|Last update: 12/3/2018

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