Meet the AI monk: Buddhist robot costing £700,000 is now delivering religious teachings at a 400-year-old temple in the Japanese city of Kyoto
Kannon is designed to attract young people in Kyoto’s ancient Kodaiji temple Based on the traditional Buddhist deity of mercy it is aimed at young people.
The android gave its first sermon at the 1619 temple after a media unveiling Kannon is a collaboration between the zen temple and Osaka University.
An ancient Japanese temple has hired the help of a £700,000 (Y100 million) robot to deliver the teachings of Buddhism.
The android, dubbed Kannon, is based on the traditional Buddhist deity of mercy and is designed to attract young people.
The robo-deity provided its first sermon at Kyoto’s Kodaiji temple, which opened in 1619, on Saturday.
The Android Kannon, which is a Buddhist deity of mercy, was unveiled to the news media before it starts preaching to the public in March
The android project is a collaboration between the zen temple and Hiroshi Ishiguro, professor of intelligent robotics at Osaka University
Only Kannon’s head, neck shoulders and hands are covered in a skin-like material made from silicone.
The robot stands at 77 inches (1.95 metres) tall and weighing 132lbs (59 kilograms).
A video camera is installed in the left eye, which allows it to focus on its subject and give the appearance of making ‘eye contact’.
Each pre-programmed sermon comes from the Heart Sutras in Japanese, with versions translated into English and Chinese for tourists.
Managers at the ancient venue approached Professor Ishiguro in a bid to connect with Japan’s youth.
‘Buddhism spread phenomenally around the world with the emergence of Buddhist images,’ Tensho Goto, a priest at the temple, told the Asahi newspaper.
‘We are hoping that the Android Kannon will help Buddhist teachings reach the hearts of people today
‘We want many people to come and see the robot and to think about the essence of Buddhism.’
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