This Robo Pastor Wants to Save Your Soul



Someone might have already translated the entire Bible in emoji, but now some Protestants in Wittenberg, Germany, have made it easier than ever to receive the digital word of God by creating their very own robo pastor, the Guardian reports.

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, a local church unveiled the BlessU-2, a cyborg pastor that can deliver a blessing in five different languages. It’s important to note BlessU-2 isn’t equipped with AI technology, so it interacts with people through its touchscreen torso. Once the user selects the language and gender of the bot’s voice, its eyes start wobbling and its hands rise to the heavens as it bestows the word of God. It can even print out a copy of the blessing, too.

Stephan Krebs, a member of the church who helped make the robot, said the idea behind the BlessU-2 was to “bring a theological perspective to a machine” and spark a conversation about technology’s role within Christianity.

“The idea is to provoke debate,” Krebs told the Guardian. “People from the street are curious, amused, and interested. They are really taken with it, and are very positive. But inside the church some people think we want to replace human pastors with machines. Those that are church-oriented are more critical.”

Krebs assured the Guardian pastors won’t be another casualty of the robot revolution, and he wasn’t interested in automating church work. Instead, he and his colleagues are gathering info on how people interact with the bot to further analyze it. But who knows—maybe robot church leaders are our future, or maybe HBO will just cast one as Jude Law’s replacement in the Cyborg Pope.

VICE Staff



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