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Johan Axhamn represented Lund at the Swedish Riksdag’s seminar on AI

Members of parliament in the Swedish Riksdag. Screenshot.
The Research Day of the Swedish Parliament was held on 18 April. Invited researchers from different universities met with the members of Parliament and talked about AI. Johan Axhamn was invited to the Committee on Cultural Affairs. (Screenshot)

Every year, the Swedish Riksdag organises a research day. This year the theme was “artificial intelligence”. The aim is to give Members of Parliament the opportunity to gain new knowledge and to highlight the value of science for politics, democracy, and parliamentary decision-making. This year, Johan Axhamn, senior lecturer in Business Law here at LUSEM, was the sole representative from Lund University.

During the morning of 18 April, the parliamentary committees held internal seminars with researchers. This was followed by a joint open seminar on AI and its opportunities and limitations.

Johan Axhamn gave a presentation during the Committee on Culture’s (Kulturutskottet) seminar on “AI and copyright: consequences in the cultural field”.  After the presentation, the committee members had the opportunity to ask questions to Johan Axhamn and the other participating researcher at the seminar. 

We took the opportunity to ask Johan a few questions about his participation and his plans for this semester, including arranging an interesting upcoming symposium on law and data-driven innovation on 5 June in Lund.

What kind of questions did you get at the seminar at Riksdagen?

“The members were interested in information about the market and how the development of AI in the cultural sector affects the ability of authors and other creators to control the outcome of their creative activities in areas such as text, images and music. They also wanted input on whether there is anything they can do as legislators in this area. For example, in terms of updating the legislation, or otherwise promoting or incentivising market players in any way. 

“They were particularly interested in the question of whether authors have – and should have – the possibility to control the use of their works as training data for AI ‘learning’. Recently, new legislation in the EU has been adopted that to some extent removes this control from authors and this has led to some concerns in the market – that AI tools are ‘free-riding’ on human creativity and the consequences this may have in the future.”

How did you receive an invitation to attend as a lecturer at the seminar?

“I was contacted by the committee's secretariat staff. I received the request about two months ago.”

How did you find the interest of the committee members?

“I found the members very interested and engaged in this issue. Most of their questions centered on how technology affects the ability of creators to control the conditions under which their works etc. are used as training data for AI; how they can be compensated for such use, and what possible concrete policy options going forward could be.”

What was your own experience of the whole thing?

“At the time, there was of course a certain tension or nervousness – it gives a sense of great seriousness to give a presentation and answer questions from Members of Parliament. At the same time, as a researcher, I naturally want to get my research results out there – and not just ‘inform about my research’, but also contribute to policy and perhaps new legislation. I experienced this context as a ‘highly qualified’ interaction with the surrounding society; ‘the third task’.

“I'm grateful for the opportunity to participate and I'm glad that I had the chance to highlight some of the research that we are conducting at LUSEM.”

What else are you up to this semester? Anything special going on?

“This semester, I have launched a new course: ”Intellectual Property Law – Strategies and Innovation” (Immaterialrätt – strategier och innovation). The course is given at the Department of Business Law at LUSEM and is also open to students who have studied a few semesters on the Bachelor’s programme in Business and Economics (Ekonomie kandidat-programmet).The course was finalised at the end of March, and we have received very good feedback from the students; our guest lecturers and professionals. Intellectual property rights – including patents, trademarks, and copyrights – are often the most important asset for many companies and their competitive position. I'm glad we can provide this course for our students.”

“Now, in the second half of the semester, I am supervising quite a few bachelor and master theses. It currently takes up most of my time. My colleague Jonas Ledendal and I are also planning a symposium on data-driven innovation on 5 June at LUSEM. We have a strong programme with leading researchers and others as speakers. There are currently around 50 registered participants and we are aiming for over a hundred.”

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