Future Church

Future Church | Goldfarb Financial | Buffalo, NY | Certified B Corp | Wealth Management 

 

Future Church | Goldfarb Financial | Buffalo, NY | Certified B Corp | Wealth Management 

 

Just because the Bible hasn’t updated in millennia doesn’t mean religion can’t. In Germany, futuristic technology has finally merged with Christianity when a protestant church unveiled a robotic priest capable of leading prayer in five different languages.[1] The machine is capable of reciting the bible in either a male or female voice and flashes lights from its hands and arms.[2] The machine operates with a touch screen, so any user can select a preferred language and voice.[3]

 

The protestant church housing the robot named BlessU-2 wanted to spark a debate on artificial intelligence’s place in the church.[4] In an interview with the Guardian, Stephan Krebs from the Hesse and Nassau church said “the idea is to provoke debate” and “people from the street are curious, amused, and interested.”[5] It is no surprise that while casual onlookers are fascinated by the machine, those more traditional in the church’s practices are critical. Does a blessing by a machine carry the same weight as one by a human? One could make the case we interact with machines more regularly than other humans and still consider ourselves social.

 

This is not the first time a robot has entered a religious organization or even led a prayer. Last year CNN covered a story of a Buddhist temple in Beijing, which utilized an adorable cartoon looking robotic monk capable of chanting mantras.[6] In China this device was met with wide entertainment and became a social media sensation.

 

Automated technology is entering every aspect of our life, from early self-check-out lines to debates of driverless cars. While Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos believe the world should embrace the change and welcome the benefits of automation, the lingering question remains on whether certain aspects of humanity should remain off limits to computerization. Can an organized religion embrace technology, and if so are there limits? How can we decide what those limits are, and how flexible are they?

 

  

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[1] https://www.rt.com/viral/390187-robot-priest-german-church/

[2] http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-40101661/robotic-reverend-blesses-worshippers-in-eight-languages

[3] https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/3687923/robot-priest-called-blessu-2-delivers-blessings-like-a-religious-cash-machine-while-it-beams-lights-from-its-palms/

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/30/robot-priest-blessu-2-germany-reformation-exhibition

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/30/robot-priest-blessu-2-germany-reformation-exhibition

[6] http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/30/travel/china-buddhism-robot-monk/