Need to repent? With this new robot, that’s as easy as using a fast food kiosk.
From robot chefs to concierge service, we already live in a world where robots take the place of some humans. However, can you imagine a world where you confess your sins to a robot?
The newest human-like machine to come to life is a robot priest called “BlessU-2.” The new clergy member is an experiment by a local Protestant church in Wittenberg, Germany, where members seek to spark debate over the future of the church and technology’s role in it. BlessU-2 is also being used to mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther.
“We wanted people to consider if it is possible to be blessed by a machine, or if a human being is needed,” Stephan Krebs of the Protestant church in Hesse and Nassau told The Guardian.
Through the touch screen on its chest, select your language and the blessing you wish to receive. While it raises its arms and flashes lights through its hands, BlessU-2 performs a blessing or bible verse, also reciting the lines, “God bless and protect you.” It gets better — worshippers can customize their holy experience, choosing a female or male voice and German, French, English, Spanish or Polish. If you want proof of service, BlessU-2 can provide a printed receipt of your blessing.
While Krebs and his colleagues continue to experiment and analyze the robot priest, they raise the question of technology’s role in religion. “We don’t want to robotise our church work,” Krebs says, “but see if we can bring a theological perspective to a machine.”