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Finding out who benefits from laws, rules and regulations.

Posted 11 years ago
I would like to create a searchable database of all laws, rules and regulations from the local level through the state and federal levels that benefits individuals, organizations, industries and companies. If we could craft such a database, then the laws etc. could be reviewed and evaluated to see what contributes to the greatest good. When I first saw Watson, I realized it could be done, but I am pretty sure that IBM would not get behind such an endeavor as it would have a negative impact on them. But if we can build this using Wolfram, then it could be available to the people of this country to help take back the country from the 1%. If you can help, please let me know.
POSTED BY: Sara Peterson
3 Replies
Want to find beneficiaries - see only budget laws, spending part. 
This is a very ambitious idea.  There are several implementation problems, however, that would need to be addressed.  First, simply having a good database of ALL laws (even just from the US) is a very large project.  Although there are commercial groups such as West and Lexis (or whatever they have been renamed) that are engaged in this task, their systems are highly proprietary and, in my opinion, not suited for algorithmic research.  Second, moving from the text of the statute to an economic analysis of beneficiaries and victims is incredibly difficult to do algorithmically.  Moreover, the unit of analysis is not clear: one chunk of a statute may help, say, a corporation, while another linked in chunk may hurt it.  

There's a conference this coming week at the University of San Diego ( in which academics interested in this field are showing beginning forays, but what you are describing is, I think, a long, long way off.
POSTED BY: Seth Chandler
Computational Law is a very big endevor.  In addition to the very difficult problem of codifing the law in some computable way, there's the problem that jurisprudence isn't often very precise and intentionally leaves room for human reasoning.

If you are interested in this area, there are research groups working on it and you might want to see what kind of work is done in this area.
POSTED BY: Sean Clarke

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