THE ROBOTS ARE COMING FOR RELIGIOUS RITUALS AND CEREMONIES [SIGN-2017:0904-06]
#1 [The robots are coming for one of Hinduism’s holiest ceremonies]
Aarti is the quintessential Hindu religious ritual. Automation, for some time now, has given many Indians sleepless nights. So a coming together of these two says a lot about the world we live in.
During the ongoing Ganpati festival in India, Ahmedabad-based Patil Automation hit the idea of letting a robot perform the aarti for the elephant-headed god at its Pune facility. Primarily symbolizing the removal of darkness, this ritual traditionally involves a priest or a devotee moving a lamp or blazing camphor in a circular pattern before a deity, accompanied by chants or hymns.
#2 [Robot monk to spread Buddhist wisdom to the digital generation]
In an unexpected synthesis of ancient and modern, a Buddhist temple on the edge of Beijing has developed a robot monk who can chant mantras and explain basic tenets of faith.
At 2ft high, Xian’er is encased in saffron-yellow robes and has a shaved head. Despite spending much of his time closeted in the spiritual calm of Longquan Temple, he wears an expression of permanent surprise.