A robot by the name of “BlessU-2” has begun operations in the city of Wittenberg, Germany. The robot is designed aid the flesh-and-blood priests in their work. It accomplishes this by greeting church visitors and offering blessings.
Mirror reports: It consists of a metal box with a touch screen, two arms on the side, a head with eyes and a digital mouth at the top.
After the robot wishes users a “warm welcome”, it asks them if they want to be blessed by a male or female voice.
It then asks the believer “what blessing do you want”, which results in the robot making a mechanical sound as it raises its arms to the heavens and starts to smile.
Lights then start to flash in the robot’s arms as it says “God bless and protect you” and recites a biblical verse.
All things considered, it is a bit odd to look at.
Still, it’s more lifelike than some preachers I’ve listened to!
Of course, while some people find BlessU-2 to be an interesting and conversation-starting idea, there are others who fear its implications. Church spokesman Sebastian von Gehren was reported saying that people do not need to worry about robots replacing human preachers. The town Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation in will always have human preachers.
That’s nice to know, but I was wondering about a much different implication: How long until we get to the point in AI technology that a robot will have a “soul?” I think a church service sitting next to C-3PO would be pretty interesting. I’m sure that this is a bridge Christianity will cross in a calm and thought-out manner when it comes to it…