Computational Law

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March 11, 2016
Co-organized by David Krakauer (SFI), Matt Koehler and Bradford Brown (The MITRE Corporation), and Michael Genesereth (Stanford University CodeX)
Held at Santa Fe Institute

The US Code contains approximately 67 thousand sections with over 92 thousand in-text references. Even though roughly half the sections do not contain references this still creates an extremely important and complicated citation network; a network that impacts almost every aspect of our lives. According to the Washington Post in 2012 federal regulations imposed approximately $216 Billion in costs on the US economy. Moreover, this network of laws is not static. In the ten years between fiscal year 2004 and 2013 the federal government published 37,022 final rules in the Federal Register.

What is the role of computation in all this mess? What if the intelligent use of computation could make compliance just 10% more efficient? A small but growing community of researchers will convene at the Santa Fe Institute on March 11th to discuss the foundations and state-of-the-art in the emerging field of Computational Law. Computational Law (CompLaw) is that branch of legal informatics concerned with the mechanization of legal reasoning and the use of computation in the design and analysis of legal systems and institutions. The goal of work in the field is the development and deployment of computer systems capable of doing legal calculations of various sorts, such as compliance checking, legal planning, and regulatory analysis.

While the idea of automated legal analysis is not new, its prospects are better than ever due to recent technological developments - including progress in Computational Logic, the growth of the Internet, and the proliferation of autonomous systems (such as self-driving cars and robots). Legal technology based on Computational Law has the potential to dramatically change the legal profession, improving the quality and efficiency of legal services and possibly disrupting the way law firms do business. More broadly, the technology has the potential to bring legal understanding and legal tools to everyone in society, not just legal professionals, thus enhancing access to justice and improving the legal system as a whole.

The aim of this Business Network meeting is to bring together individuals with an interest in Computational Law - to help define the field, to discuss technical and legal challenges, and to identify areas of practical application. While CompLaw may sound like a rather esoteric topic for a Business Network meeting, law is one of the most pervasive artifacts that our species has created. It impacts both our personal and professional lives. We strongly encourage you and others from your organization to join in this important discussion either in person or via the live webcast. The meeting will consist of presentations and discussion sessions, and will be held on March 11, 2016 at the Santa Fe Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This Business Network meeting is co-sponsored by Stanford’s Codex, MITRE, and the Santa Fe Institute.