japanese buddhist robot mindar
DW News
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Japanese Buddhist AI robot is the future of religion

It seems that AI robots will take over every job in the world leaving us humans broke and unemployed. However, religious leaders seemed to be safe from the inevitable robot invasion because a soul was required. But they’re not safe anymore because Japanese scientists created a Buddhist robot priest to spread that zen man. According to Channel News Asia, a $1 million humanoid is preaching the word of Buddhism to get more young people interested in the teachings.

Japanese Buddhist robot mindar
DW News

At a 400-year-old Kodaji Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan, the robot named “Mindar” stands six feet tall and can move its torso, head, and arms. But only the hands, face, and shoulders are covered in silicone to mimic human skin. The rest looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger without his skin in the Terminator franchise. The robot was based on the Buddhist deity of mercy and delivers sermons from the Heart Sutras in Japanese.

Priest Tensho Goto said, “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.”

The robot was created by Osaka University roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro along with the Zen temple. Ever since it was unveiled earlier this year to increase interest in Buddhist teachings, it’s garnered mixed opinions. Some liked it, mostly Japanese, while foreigners found it revolting comparing it to Frankenstein.

“Westerners have been the most upset by the robot,” Goto said. “It could be the influence of the Bible, but Westerners have compared it to Frankenstein’s monster.

“Japanese people don’t possess any prejudices against robots. We were brought up on comics where robots are our friends. Westerners think differently.”

As for the age-old question, ‘Does robots have souls?’ it seems it doesn’t matter.

“Obviously a machine doesn’t have a soul,” Goto said. “But Buddhist faith isn’t about believing in God. It’s about following Buddha’s path, so it doesn’t matter whether it is represented by a machine, a scrap of iron or a tree.”

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