Nya och gamla perspektiv på ansvar?: en rättsvetenskaplig studie om ansvar i en straffrättslig kontext gällande självkörande/uppkopplade fordon

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Wanna Svedberg

The objective of this report is to analyse the legal prerequisites for liability under criminal law regarding self-driving vehicles. This includes making visible and problematize legal constructions of responsibility in Criminal Law, and its concepts and principles that follow in relation to the knowledge developed within the field of Artificial Intelligence.

The overall question, which focuses on the Swedish Penal Code, is how criminal liability is constructed in law and if these constructions are compatible with the development of self-driving vehicles technologies. The sub question is what or which elements constitute legal responsibility and accountability under the Road Traffic Offences Act. The project aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the law, the power that Law exercises, and its role and function in society, but also how technology impacts on the content of Law. The theoretical inspiration has been derived mainly from legal theories that give attention to and elucidate the relationship between Law and Society, and in addition, theories and perspectives of Criminal Law. The study uses traditional legal methods developed in jurisprudence; this means applying legal sources such as preparatory works and Jurisprudence literature in the interpretation of legal provisions.

The analysis shows that self-driving vehicles technologies are challenging Law in many ways inter alia the concept of “legal subject”. Furthermore, it reveals that general provisions as well as concepts and principles in the Swedish Penal Code and the Constitutional Law are not well adapted to the technology in question. The concept “legal subject” is based on an image of a human as an autonomous being. As such, she has the ability of good judgment and is wise and insightful. She is also assumed to be free to make her own decisions without being subordinate to others. In a broader perspective the Law defines what it is like to be a human being. In contrary, robot’s autonomy is determined where a human is situated in the "decision-loop". This study argues that the time is ripe to seriously discuss the concept "legal autonomy" particularly in relation to self-driving vehicles since the technology involved is challenging the very foundation of Law. Furthermore, that the legal concept autonomy should instead be understood as a relational concept since this approach embraces the relationship between the physical driver and the automated system of the self-driving vehicle.

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