Many of us already engage with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies every day. We use virtual voice assistants, check travel times with online maps and find, when we search the web, that many additional options are suggested to us based on our previous activities and those of others like us. Sooner than we think, we may have self-driving cars.

While there have been numerous reports on the need to regulate AI in the interests of the community, these and related new technologies also offer an opportunity for regulators to transform their internal processes. 

Used appropriately, AI and machine learning technologies can help us make better informed decisions in less time and drive significant efficiencies. Yet, to date, their application in the context of government regulation has been limited, notwithstanding the recent work of CSIRO in setting out an AI roadmap for Australia.

NSW Treasury recently published a research report, Regulating for NSW’s Future, that draws on data and insights using AI and text-analysis software to assess the NSW regulatory landscape. The software was used to identify regulatory improvement opportunities that could facilitate economic recovery post-COVID-19.

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