Aussie AI life coach backed by telco

An AI life coach and an app that helps people with autism better navigate social situations are among those sharing in funding from a large telco.

"Hey Siri, give me advice to help change my life."

That request may stump Apple's assistant but an Australian tech firm thinks its AI life coach can help people become the best version of themselves.

What's Right is one of eight small social enterprises to receive an injection of funding from Optus Business as part of its Future Makers program this week.

The company says its app helps users navigate life with a personalised virtual coach that communicates in a conversational way.

The start-up's founders, including Rory Darkins who studied psychology in New Zealand, hope to remove barriers that prevent disadvantaged people from accessing the support they need to thrive.

Other firms to win a share of $280,000 in funding included Kynd, which considers personality and experience when linking disadvantaged people with support services, and Xceptional, which harnesses the superior ability of people with autism to maintain concentration and precision in its technology services firm.

Another start-up, vPlay, teaches people with autism the tools to navigate social situations through a browser application.

All eight start-ups took part in a four-month accelerator program and two will have the chance to expand their business into Asia.

Optus Business managing director John Paitaridis says large technology organisations have a responsibility to invest in innovations that can help vulnerable people.

He said technology had the ability to support inclusion and diversity, help eliminate or reduce domestic violence and help people jobs so that they can help themselves.

"Technology empowers the community," he told AAP.

"With technology, you can change a life and that's why we view it as an important part of our mission to help change lives through the use of technology."

Optus says it doesn't plan to take a financial stake in the start-ups.

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