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Friday, August 23, 2019

Buddhism, robots and artificial intelligence, the new frontier | Technology - The Washington Post

Peter Holley, technology reporter at The Washington Post summarizes, The $1 million robot preaches in a Japanese temple. Will it one day learn to think on its own? 

This temple in Japan has a robot priest

As interest in religion wanes around the world, and secularism surges, religious leaders have begun searching for innovative ways to spread their message and connect with potential adherents.

In the United States, some churches have relaxed dress codes, revamped worship spaces and churned out sermons that place less emphasis on sin, all while embracing Instagram and refashioning faith as a lifestyle brand.

In Japan — where low fertility rates and an aging population are reducing religious affiliation — Buddhist priests have been warning for more than a decade that their ancient tradition risks extinction. To reverse course, a Kyoto temple has settled on a new plan for connecting with the masses, one that channels ancient wisdom through the technology of the future...

The robot was created by a team led by Hiroshi Ishiguro, a renown roboticist and professor of intelligent robotics at Osaka University.

Reached by email, Kohei Ogawa, an associate professor at Osaka University who helped design Mindar, said researchers’ goal was to redesign a Buddhist statue using modern robotics technology. The result was a $1 million collaboration between the temple and Osaka University in which researchers decided Mindar should channel Kannon Bodhisattva, the Buddhist deity of mercy.

Source: The Washington Post and The Hindu Channel (YouTube)