Exercise of power, human rights, and AI: Public law and multidisciplinarity characterise Anna-Sara Lind's research
Professor of Public Law Anna-Sara Lind's research focuses on legal issues concerning the relationship between individuals and the Swedish public sector. She is also involved in and leads a number of multidisciplinary projects on, among other things, AI and human rights.
Public law includes both constitutional law and administrative law, and is intimately intertwined with the development and history of our society. How should the public sector be organised and what limits can be placed on the exercise of power?
The national administration in Sweden is growing and is a necessary means of realising both fundamental legal requirements such as freedom and rights and legal certainty as well as policy. However, the administration has an increasing number of policy instruments to relate to and has a mission that has become increasingly complex. The body of rules is growing with both national and international rules and national policy, and today places great demands on the ability of the administration and the civil servants to manage and fulfil their tasks.
In addition, more and more people are involved in creating the rules in Sweden. We also see that the European sphere has become an integral part of the national sphere and that Swedish rules are created beyond the national parliament; EU law is now an integral part of Swedish law. Human rights have also become Swedish law when it comes to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“I teach constitutional law, administrative law, and human rights, and when you work in these subjects, EU law is also an obvious part. Since I completed my PhD in constitutional law with a thesis on the constitutional status of social rights, I have been involved in and led several different research projects in which public law has been brought into play," says Anna-Sara Lind and continues:
"I have researched the right to health and the right to privacy in relation to biobanks in a major multidisciplinary European project, as well as the link between religion and welfare together with researchers from theology and history. I have also studied how citizenship and social rights have emerged both nationally and in European law, together with scholars from philosophy and political science.
Anna-Sara is also busy learning more about our constitutional law and administrative law and has written articles on many different themes, such as freedom of the press, ethical review, digitalisation, and methodological issues. Together with colleagues, she has contributed to several textbooks, for example in medical law, social work, and comparative constitutional law, but has also written popular science publications, including on human rights.
Leading multidisciplinary projects on AI and democratic inclusion
Anna-Sara is currently leading two multidisciplinary projects. One, Artificial Intelligence, Democracy and Human Dignity, is funded by the Wallenberg Foundations and involves researchers from law, philosophy, and political science. Eight researchers are part of the group and study the legal, philosophical, and political implications of an increasingly powerful AI.
“The main question is whether strong, conscious AI is possible at all and how it would affect human dignity, human rights, and democracy, as well as the ethical issues related to this new complex of problems. The project is one of many in a major national effort to create research on AI in the humanities and social sciences”. (See WASP-HS, wasp-hs.org)
“Since this national initiative started in 2019, I have also had the great pleasure of being part of the steering group for this project. Many researchers at our university are engaged in these issues and it is extremely exciting to see how research develops in this field.”
The second project is titled 'Contributivism' and is a project funded by the Swedish Research Council, in which the researchers study how democratic inclusion is motivated by economic contributions, e.g. how a person can gain citizenship through strong economic ties via work. Here, Anna-Sara works with both Swedish and European law and at the end of 2022, an international conference was organised to mark the 30th anniversary of Union citizenship.
Impact of religion
“As a young researcher, I was invited to join a large multidisciplinary research programme Impact of Religion - challenges for society, law and democracy. The programme lasted for more than 10 years and involved almost 100 researchers in total.
From 2014, Anna-Sara became deputy programme manager and since 2020 she is scientific director of the Centre for Multidisciplinary Research on Religion and Society (CRS). It was at CRS that the Impact programme was located.
“This programme was started by lawyers and scholars on religion and society and came to include researchers from more than 30 disciplines. It is extremely inspiring to see how we lawyers together with representatives from other disciplines build new research that leads to knowledge that is important for society!”