Kodaiji temple in Kyoto, a 400-year-old Buddhist temple, is using a robot priest in hopes of attracting the younger gen & one day, achieving unlimited wisdom with AI.
A “fun way” to bridge the generation gap
Priest Tensho Goto of the Kodaiji temple said the humanoid robot, called “Mindar”, could offer a “fun way” to experience Buddhism for the younger generation. Mindar, developed with Osaka U robotics program and cost $1M, delivers the Heart Sutras sermon in Japanese with English and Chinese captions projected onto a screen for foreign visitors.
“This robot teaches us ways to overcome pain”
Goto hopes Mindar “will grow in wisdom to help people overcome even the most difficult troubles” with AI and that it will “never die, it will just keep updating itself and evolving”. In Goto’s view, with the advance of AI technology, it was logical for the Buddha to transform into a robot.
Goto adds that Japanese people, because they were brought up on anime and comics where robots are friends of humans, don’t have any prejudices against robots. One of the visitors said “I felt a warmth you wouldn’t feel from a regular machine”.
The church of AI
Japanese people aren’t the only ones who feel comfortable worshipping artificial intelligence, tho. Anthony Levandowski, formerly of Google and Uber, actually started a church for worshipping AI called Way of the Future Church aka WOTF (feel free to read that as WTF, tho. We did.)
Levandowski believes humans will one day be subject to a super AI and is trying to be on its good side first. On the homepage, there’s a pretty creepy paragraph about how he’s going to keep track of who has been friendly (or not) to machines so that one day he’ll show the list to them. Not only is this dude a fucking maniac but he’s also a proud ass snitch. SMH.