A 400-year-old temple in Japan is actually attempting to hot-wire interest in Buddhism that has a robotic priest This kind of 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, as well as its human colleagues predict that will with artificial intelligence This kind of could one day acquire unlimited wisdom.
“This kind of robot will never die, This kind of will just keep updating itself as well as evolving,” priest Tensho Goto told AFP.
“that will’s the beauty of a robot. This kind of can store knowledge forever as well as limitlessly.
“With AI we trust This kind of will grow in wisdom to help people overcome even the most difficult troubles. This kind of’s changing Buddhism,” added Goto.
The adult-sized robot began service earlier This kind of year as well as is actually able to move its torso, arms as well as head.
however only its hands, face as well as shoulders are covered in silicone to replicate human skin.
Clasping its hands together in prayer as well as speaking in soothing tones, the rest of the droid’s mechanical parts are clearly visible.
Wiring as well as blinking lights fill the cranial cavity of its open-top head as well as snake around its gender-neutral, aluminium body.
A tiny video camera installed inside left eye completes an eerie, cyborg-like frame seemingly lifted straight out of a dystopian Hollywood sci-fi thriller.
Developed at a cost of almost $1m in a joint project between the Zen temple as well as renowned robotics professor Hiroshi Ishiguro at Osaka University, the humanoid — called Mindar — teaches about compassion as well as of the dangers of desire, anger as well as ego.
“You cling to a sense of selfish ego,” This kind of warns worshippers. “Worldly desires are nothing various other than a mind lost at sea.”
– No ‘fuddy-duddy’ priest –
With religion’s influence on daily life flat-lining in Japan, Goto hopes Kodaiji’s robot priest will be able to reach younger generations in a way traditional monks can’t.
“Young people probably think a temple is actually a place for funerals or weddings,” he said, trying to explain the disconnect with religion.
“This kind of might be difficult to relate to fuddy-duddy priests like me, however hopefully the robot is actually a fun way to bridge that will gap. We want people to see the robot as well as think about the essence of Buddhism.”
Goto insisted, however, that will Mindar was no gimmick to boost income coming from tourists.
“This kind of robot teaches us ways to overcome pain,” he said. “This kind of is actually here to save anyone who seeks help.”
The pious droid delivers sermons coming from the Heart Sutras in Japanese, with translations in English as well as Chinese projected onto a screen for foreign visitors.
“The goal of Buddhism is actually to ease suffering,” said Goto. “Modern society brings various other kinds of stress, however the goal hasn’t truly changed for over 2,000 years.”
A recent Osaka University survey showed a wide range of feedback coming from those who have seen the android at work, with many expressing surprise at how “human” This kind of looked.
“I felt a warmth you wouldn’t feel coming from a regular machine,” said one of those polled.
“At first This kind of felt a little unnatural, however the android was easy to follow,” replied another temple-goer. “This kind of made me think deeply about right as well as wrong.”
Others were less convinced, some insisting the robot was too “fake”.
“The sermon felt uncomfortable,” complained one worshipper. “The robot’s expressions felt too engineered.”
– ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ –
Kodaiji temple has also faced criticism — mostly coming from foreigners — for tampering with the sanctity of religion.
“Westerners have been the most upset by the robot,” said Goto, noting largely positive feedback coming from Japanese visitors.
“This kind of could be the influence of the Bible, however Westerners have compared This kind of 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.”
Goto denies accusations that will Kodaiji, recently visited by French President Emmanuel Macron, is actually guilty of sacrilege.
“Obviously a machine doesn’t have a soul,” he said.
“however Buddhist faith isn’t about believing in God. This kind of’s about following Buddha’s path, so This kind of doesn’t matter whether This kind of is actually represented by a machine, a scrap of iron or a tree.”
The temple insists the deity of mercy is actually able to transform itself at will as well as that will an android is actually merely the latest incarnation.
“Artificial intelligence has developed to such an extent we thought This kind of logical for the Buddha to transform into a robot,” said Goto.
“We trust This kind of will touch people’s hearts as well as minds.”
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Source : Japan temple puts faith in robot priest