Androids, AI, and technology have been taking over from humans in many spheres. But, would you believe that robots are now replacing priests in temples? Read on for more.
The 400-year-old Buddhist Kodaiji temple in Kyoto, Japan now has a robotic priest! Based on the Buddhist deity of mercy Kannon, the android called Mindar preaches sermons in the temple.
Mindar is adult-sized and is about six feet tall. It can move its torso, arms, and head and it gives sermons by clasping it hands and speaking in calming tones. To replicate human form, its hands, face, and shoulders are covered in silicone. However, the rest of its mechanical parts are visible. Its gender-neutral body is made of aluminium and there is a little camera installed in its left eye.
And it can give sermons as good as human priests would – it sermonizes about ancient Buddhist teaching relating to love and compassion and of the risks of ego, desire, and greed.
Put into service earlier this year, Mindar was developed in a collaboration between the Zen temple and the famous Professor of Robotics, Hiroshi Ishiguro of the Osaka University at a cost of about $1 million.
Temple officials have confirmed that Mindar has struck a chord among devotees despite the initial scepticism. They believe that it will teach youngsters more about religion and bring them closer to God.
What do you think? Is this the future of religion? Can androids really replace priests around the world? Do let us know your views in the comments section below.