A sign of the times, in Japan a robot known as ‘Android Kannon’ delivers teachings to Buddhist followers. Not long ago, the robot delivered its very first teachings at Kodaiji temple in Kyoto. This robot doesn’t come cheap. It cost a staggering $900,560 dollars to build. Android Kannon is 6.4 feet tall…it weighs in at 132 pounds.
All of the robots neck, head, shoulders and hands are covered with a silicone type material that resembles skin. Within its left eye, is a video camera that simulates eye contact, while focusing on someone standing before it. There are pre-programmed sermons used by the AI monk that come from the Heart Sutras in Japanese. This robot, can even translate verses from Chinese and English as well.
The collaboration was a joint venture between both Kyoto’s Kodaiji temple and Hiroshi Ishiguro.
Mr. Ishiguro, is a Osaka University intelligent robotics professor. He is proud of what was accomplished. The very first sermon conducted by the robot, was on February 23rd.
The temple turned to Professor Ishiguro and asked him to help design a humanoid robot that could communicate with Buddha’s teachings. The trick was, to create the robot in a way so that troubled people can have a peace of mind. The robot was designed to be both understandable and easy to communicate with.
“Buddhism saw a phenomenal spread in the world with the emergence of Buddhist images,” Tensho Goto, a priest at the temple in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward, told The Asahi Shimbun. “We are hoping that the Android Kannon will help Buddhist teachings reach the hearts of people today.”
The Android Kannon robot will be an Artificially Intelligent preacher, which will be used at Kyoto’s Kodaiji temple from March 8 to May 6.
Some consider the thought of worshiping a robot blasphemous. It is unnatural, there are 15 passages from The Bible, forbidding the worship of false idols. The world is on a self destructive path and many simply do not know what to do. Where will the future take us? Time will tell.
Jokingly, someone commented that the robot resembles President Putin from Russia.