Robot reads mantra instead of priest in temple
Published: 06:33 PM, 7 December 2019
A 400-year-old temple in Japan is attempting to hot-wire interest in Buddhism with a robotic priest it believes will change the face of the religion - despite critics comparing the android to “Frankenstein's monster”.
The android Kannon, based on the Buddhist deity of mercy, preaches sermons at Kodaiji temple in Kyoto, and its human colleagues predict that with artificial intelligence, it could one day acquire unlimited wisdom.
Priest Tensho Goto told that “This robot will never die, it will just keep updating itself and evolving”.
That’s the beauty of a robot. It can store knowledge forever and limitlessly. With alI we hope it will grow in wisdom to help people overcome even the most difficult troubles. It’s changing Buddhism,” added Mr. Goto.
The adult-sized robot began service earlier this year and is able to move its torso, arms, and head. But only its hands, face and shoulders are covered in silicone to replicate human skin.
Kodaiji temple has also faced criticism - mostly from foreigners - for tampering with the sanctity of religion.
“Westerners have been the most upset by the robot,” said Mr. Goto, noting largely positive feedback from Japanese visitors.
“It could be the influence of the Bible, but Westerners have compared it to Frankenstein's monster,” he added.
“Japanese people don't possess any prejudices against robots. We were brought up on comics where robots are our friends. Westerners think differently.”
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