Rules as Code is a novel and interesting 'regulation-tech' concept. It aims to produce machine-consumable counterparts to certain pieces of legislation. It is not so much "machines interpreting the law" (which is admittedly scary), but more machines supporting digital delivery and communication of policy (which is awesome!).
For the past 3 months I have been working with Code for Australia on a Rules as Code implementation using OpenFisca. In June I was invited by the Australian Society for Computers & Law to deliver a masterclass on OpenFisca and my team's work on Rules as Code. Check out the recording here, and keep reading below for more on Rules as Code!
The ultimate goal of Rules as Code is to enable better service provision by Government – to improve transparency; improve consultation; and provide utility to citizens.
What excites me most is that it represents a serious attempt to bring software development best-practices to policy - things like testing, reference implementations and standardised ontologies.
My work so far has demonstrated how we can build software to simulate complex policy landscapes, and then expose that software via APIs to allow external parties to test, review and build upon existing policy. There is still a long way to go to make this approach widely adoptable - but the progress so far is promising!
Here are some awesome resources for finding out more about Rules as Code: