(This Oct 16 story restores dropped words in first paragraph to say tens of thousands of pages, not tens of pages; corrects fourth paragraph to say 185,000 pages remaining, not published annually)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said Friday that federal agencies will use artificial intelligence to eliminate outdated, obsolete, and inconsistent requirements across tens of thousands of pages of government regulations.
A 2019 pilot project used machine learning algorithms and natural language processing at the Department of Health and Human Services. The test run found hundreds of technical errors and outdated requirements in agency rulebooks, including requests to submit materials by fax.
OMB said all federal agencies are being encouraged to update regulations using AI and several agencies have already agreed to do so.
Over the last four years, the number of pages in the Code of Federal Regulations has remained at about 185,000.
White House OMB director Russell Vought said the AI effort would help agencies “update a regulatory code marked by decades of neglect and lack of reform.”
Under the initiative agencies will use AI technology and other software “to comb through thousands and thousands of regulatory code pages to look for places where code can be updated, reconciled, and general scrubbed of technical mistakes,” the White House said.
Participating agencies include the Transportation Department, the Agriculture Department, the Labor Department and the Interior Department.
The General Services Administration will assist agencies in identifying technology partners and facilitate contracts.
The Trump administration had made deregulation a key priority, while critics say the administration has failed to ensure adequate regulatory safeguards.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Aurora Ellis