The 400-year-old Buddhist Kodaiji temple in Kyoto, Japan has a new spiritual advisor. Its latest priest is a USD$1 million machine. Not the first religious robot to tend a faithful flock, Mindar delivers sermons (albeit the same one over and over again) and interfaces with worshippers in the hope of reigniting flagging interest in religion.
The robot is designed to look like Kannon, the Buddhist deity of mercy. The developers revealed that with Mindar they are attempting to reignite people’s passion for their faith.
“This robot will never die; it will just keep updating itself and evolving.With AI, we hope it will grow in wisdom to help people overcome even the most difficult troubles. It’s changing Buddhism,” explained Tensho Goto, the temple’s chief steward in an interview with Vox.