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Meng Weng Wong

Meng Weng Wong is principal investigator at the Research Programme for Computational Law at Singapore Management University, and co-founder of legalese.com, a venture-funded computational law startup. He previously co-founded pobox.com and co-authored RFC4408, the SPF anti-spam standard for email authentication. He didn't do very well in his undergrad languages and compilers class at upenn.edu, but is making up for it now with a vengeance: after fellowships at Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and at Stanford's CodeX Center for Legal Informatics, he is now leading design and development of a DSL for law. After moving from Silicon Valley to Singapore where he now lives with his co-founder and life partner, he helped start hackerspace.sg, Singapore's first hacker/maker space. He works in Emacs, Typescript, Haskell, and Prolog. He would like to learn Curry next, with all the copious free time available now that he has completed Zelda: Breath of the Wild.


On Computational Law: Why the History of Computing Could Be the Future of Law

The government of Singapore recently bet ten million dollars on a research program to develop an open-source domain-specific language - for law. This talk explains why, and introduces lesser-known corners of computer science (like formal methods, controlled natural languages, and logic and constraint programming) and suggests that together they could permanently divide the traditional legal profession (which runs on humans) from a future legal industry (which runs on computers).

This talk offers a quick tour of useful theory that every self-taught hacker should be acquainted with, and shows how they solve problems in law. Lesser known chapters from the history of computing will be examined, such as formal verification, the temporal logics LTL and CTL, decision tables, DSLs, constraint satisfaction, and model checking, as well as strongly-typed languages for natural language generation. You will see how KRR (knowledge representation and reasoning) could move out of the heads of lawyers and into a computer. This talk outlines a plan for a domain-specific language for law, following the ethos of open source and open standards that promises to make it possible for hackers, consumers, and non-lawyers to get certain legal jobs done by themselves - not by going to a law firm, but by going to GitHub.