Robots are set to be incredible, game-changing creations. They have already revolutionized our world, of course, in the form of automation – but one day, we will have smart, reactive, learning artificial intelligence (AI) that will integrate healthcare, perform complex medical operations independently, and unravel the mysteries of the universe faster than we ever could.
In the meantime, we have Robo-Priest.
Named BlessU-2, this uncomfortable looking collection of humanoid oblongs is able to blanket you in the power of God. Poke around on the touch screen on his chest, and you get to choose your blessing type.
Raising his arms into the air at a snail’s pace, his hands light up as he vocally blesses you – in either a male or female voice – before lowering them again and printing out a copy of the blessing for you to take home with you. Rather wonderful, there is a backup blessing robot at hand in case the primary robo-priest breaks down.
Yes, we know – it’s not entirely clear why this robotic invention exists. Stephan Krebs of the Protestant church in Hesse and Nassau – the religious house behind this madcap machine – told the Guardian that it was to provoke a debate.
“We wanted people to consider if it is possible to be blessed by a machine, or if a human being is needed,” he said. Although he claims that their objective was never to suggest that priests have become obsolete in any way, they were seeking to “bring a theological perspective to a machine.”
Meet BlessU-2. Daily Mail Online YT via YouTube
Unveiled in Germany to mark 500 years since the Reformation took place, this particular robot knows its history. It lives in Wittenberg, the very place where Martin Luther debuted his game-changing, schism-causing Ninety-Five Theses back in 1517, which amounted to a huge criticism of the Catholic Church. He famously nailed the document to the door of the All Saints’ Church in the center of town.
It’s unlikely that the robo-priest will cause a similarly sweeping schism. After all, it’s a dumb robot, not one with a smart AI, so you can’t have a conversation with it. It’s certainly not ruminating on the mysteries of the cosmos, nor is it pondering on the Watchmaker Analogy made famous by Christian apologist William Paley.
There will be no conflict, nor will the Automated Church of Robots become a thing – not yet, anyway. For now, there will be confused glances, raised eyebrows, and even references to the fact that the Buddhists beat the Christians to it.
That’s right. Last year, it was revealed that a rather adorable, rather short robo-monk named Xian’er was doing pretty much the same thing in the outskirts of Beijing. It’s not clear why the Christian version looks so horrifying in comparison.