Professor Burkhard Schafer interviewed by the University of Graz, Austria
Thu 23 November 2023
Senior Austrian Standards Fellow Burkhard Schafer, Professor of Computational Legal Theory at the University of Edinburgh, was recently interviewed about his approach to legal theory and technology, challenges in AI legislation, and the focus of his current research at REWI University of Graz.
Professor Schafer was awarded a Senior Austrian Standards Fellowship, to enable a research stay at the University of Graz, on questions related to AI regulation. Working alongside researchers at the Human Factor in Digital Transformation network and the Idea-Lab, Professor Schafer’s work has focused on the use of industry standards as regulatory tools from legal, sociological, and jurisprudential perspectives.
About receiving the scholarship, Professor Schafer said: Legally-mandated technical standards play an important part in technology regulation. But what does their use as regulatory tool mean for the rule of law? And how should we prepare law students when it comes to reason with, interpret and critique them? I’m very grateful to Austrian Standards International for the award of their Senior Standards Fellowship, which will allow me to work closely with colleagues at the Human Factors in Digital Transformation network at the University of Graz, deepening and widening our long track record of collaborative research.
This visit builds on long and successful collaboration between the SCRIPT Centre and the Institut für Rechtswissenschaftliche Grundlagen at Graz, most recently exhibited by their joint collaboration on drafting a set of ethics principles for the use of Ai in the legal services industry.
This recent interview provides a deeper insight into Professor Schafer’s work during this fellowship. Amongst other topics, he discusses the similarities between his home university, Edinburgh Law School, and the University of Graz and he also gives advice to young researchers in the field of AI regulation and addresses the volatility of en-vogue research subjects in law and in the humanities.