Apr 29, 2024 - News

Ohio uses AI to eliminate unnecessary words in state administrative code

Illustration of a red pencil with gold robotic legs

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

In his war against the regulatory state, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted enlisted the bots long ago.

The big picture: Husted's office credits an AI-aided analysis of the state's administrative code with eliminating 2.2 million words' worth of unnecessary and outdated regulations as of the end of last year.

  • The work began in 2020, two years before ChatGPT's release brought AI to the masses.

What they're saying: Husted tells Axios he literally couldn't have done it without AI's help.

  • "If you think about it, no human being could make sense of the administrative code," he said. "I think it's like 17.4 million words."

How they did it: Husted's office used a tool called RegExplorer created by Deloitte.

  • His team uploaded the state's regulations and entered prompts asking it to identify outdated and duplicative sections.

What they found: Thousands of pages of rules for lottery games that haven't been played in decades.

  • Repetitive language that makes it hard to tell where the state's building and fire codes vary from national standards.
  • And all kinds of outdated language that requires in-person interaction with state government that, once eliminated, will save 58,000 hours of labor over the next decade, the state estimates.

What's next: Husted is asking the legislature for permission to keep going, estimating he could eventually cut the state's administrative code by a third.

  • Eventually, he says he'd like to see the state launch public-facing AI tools that will allow residents to ask questions about the state's laws and regulations and get answers back in plain, easy to understand English.

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