Robots are finding it’s place everywhere, but then it’s hard to expect them in a temple. But if you visit Longquan temple in Beijing you will be greeted by a robot monk. You can ask questions to it through a touch screen or a voice remote, but don’t expect a Siri or Google assistant here. The robot is trained to offer up answers provided by temple masters.
The whole spectacle is an unusual one, alongside row after row of the Chinese companies that dot Startup Alley. Robe-wearing monks meander around, in front of cartoon drawings and figures of Xian’er, the “Worthy Robot Monk.” He’s a two-foot-high robot who’s something akin to a Buddhist version of Softbank’s Pepper. He’s an adorable little ‘bot with little in the way of articulation, who sports a small tablet atop his belly.
Could these make way in Indian temples? Unlikely. But do you want one of these in the temple you visit? Let us know in the comments.