AI could be the solution for bureaucracy with Emilie Poteat from Advocate

AI could be the solution for bureaucracy with Emilie Poteat from Advocate

Introduction (00:00:00)

  • Emily Poteat is the founder of Advocate, a service platform that helps connect people to government services.
  • Advocate focuses on helping individuals access Social Security insurance payments, particularly those who have become too sick to work.
  • The platform aims to ensure that all Americans can access government benefits they are eligible for.
  • Emily's stepfather, David, suffered a severe stroke and could no longer work.
  • Emily faced difficulties in trying to qualify David for Social Security benefits, highlighting the need for better infrastructure to simplify the process.
  • Many government programs lack a user-friendly front-end infrastructure, making it challenging for individuals to access the benefits they are entitled to.
  • Advocate aims to bridge the gap between the American public and the federal government by providing a technological infrastructure.
  • The platform simplifies the process of accessing government benefits by translating individuals' data and needs into terms understandable by the federal government.
  • Advocate's mission is to ensure that all Americans can easily connect to the support provided by the government and social contract.

the status quo of applying for government aid (00:04:16)

  • Advocate is developing an AI platform to simplify the application process for government benefits, such as Social Security disability pay, Veterans Affairs disability benefits, and immigration benefits.
  • The platform automates data aggregation and eligibility determination, reducing the need for intermediaries like attorneys and social workers.
  • Advocate collaborates with government agencies to ensure data accuracy and quality.
  • AI has the potential to streamline processes and improve efficiency in various legal fields, including Social Security Disability representation, veterans disability, and immigration.

Automating government services (00:08:56)

  • Advocate is working on automating government services to reduce the need for industries that exist solely to support the government.
  • The government has been collaborating with private sector industries for support and advocacy.
  • Advocate's approach is different from traditional private sector work in that it aims to fulfill the need for collaboration between the government and the private sector.
  • Advocate has made significant investments in technological infrastructure and recruited a founding team.
  • The company is currently 40-50% through automating the Social Security application process and expects to launch its second vertical by December.
  • Advocate aims to have the first automated application available in its first use case, Social Security disability insurance, within a certain band of complexity by December.
  • The company plans to grow its team from 16 to 50 by the end of the year and help thousands of claimants.
  • Advocate's research focuses on identifying government benefits with the longest wait times and prioritizing those for automation.
  • The company's goal is to significantly reduce wait times for government benefits, which is expected to drive significant growth.

using AI to automate advocacy (00:13:13)

  • Advocate is developing an AI-powered platform to automate government adjudication processes, such as determining eligibility for Social Security benefits.
  • The platform breaks down each step of the adjudication process, automates individual tasks, and chains them together to create a fully automated system.
  • Security is a top priority, and the platform operates under all relevant accreditation and compliance laws.
  • AI was chosen as the best solution due to its ability to handle large volumes of rules, regulations, and data.
  • The platform is intended to streamline and improve the efficiency of the adjudication process, not to fully replace human involvement.
  • AI closed its seed round last year and envisions working with the entire federal government.

Finding the right investor fit (00:18:29)

  • Advocate is a venture-backed startup that aims to solve a significant federal problem affecting tens of millions of Americans by connecting individuals with the support promised by the social contract efficiently and quickly.
  • The founder faced mixed to negative experiences with small impact funds, including low valuations and extensive proof demands, leading to the choice of a venture-backed model.
  • Building a national technology platform requires substantial capital infusions, which services businesses and nonprofits cannot provide.
  • AI has the potential to reduce bureaucracy but must be used with compliance and human oversight.
  • Advocate was launched to address the challenges faced by individuals dealing with bureaucracy, particularly in healthcare, with a sense of urgency to make a positive impact.

Hiring for a social impact company (00:24:13)

  • Emilie Poteat, the founder of Advocate, was inspired to start the company after recognizing inefficiencies and a lack of innovation in government benefits and services.
  • Despite personal challenges, including her father's illness and a loved one's death, Poteat's previous experiences in the insurance industry and a services business provided her with valuable knowledge and insights.
  • Advocate aims to reduce bureaucracy and believes that AI could be a solution. The company plans to hire experts in AI and data science, as well as individuals with experience serving individuals without a system, from both the government and private sectors.
  • Advocate's mission and vision attract "Builders" who are passionate about creating solutions to reduce bureaucracy.

Collaborating with government agencies (00:30:00)

  • Advocate collaborates with government agencies to tackle significant issues affecting many people.
  • Emilie Poteat finds her purpose in working on such a meaningful mission, which helps her navigate the challenges and demands of her personal life.
  • The impact of Advocate's work is evident in the lives of their clients, with 38 people dying last month while waiting for their day in court to prove their inability to work full-time due to illness.
  • Poteat feels exhilarated and self-actualized by the support and care people show for their mission.
  • Despite the challenges, Poteat considers her work at Advocate to be the best job she's ever had and finds unexpected drive from its significance.

Host discussion (00:32:00)

  • AI has the potential to streamline bureaucracy and enhance government efficiency by automating tasks and reducing manual processes.
  • The government's desire to cut inefficiencies and ease the burden on its staff, coupled with the challenges of internal development, could drive the adoption of AI solutions.
  • AI can simplify the application process for government benefits, making it easier for individuals to navigate complex systems through user-friendly interfaces.
  • Advocate, a startup founded by Emilie Poteat, leverages AI to assist individuals in finding and applying for government benefits, attracting investments from large firms and government-focused investors.
  • The legal tech industry is experiencing innovation, with startups utilizing AI to streamline legal processes and improve accessibility.

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