Tokyo, Aug 25: Have you ever thought that a plastic robot can replace a monk in flesh and bones? But this has happened in Japan.
A plastic moulding company has made this possible and prepared a robot monk who chants sutras, taps drums and wears the vestment and robe of a Buddhist monk. The company christened the robot monk as Pepper.
According to Asia News, Pepper recently made his debut at the funeral industry fair in Tokyo, shown off by plastic moulding maker Nissei Eco.
The manufacture is betting that it can replace monks in flesh and bones with robots that perform Buddhist funeral rituals using a computerised voice for the sutras and live stream the ceremony to those who cannot attend the service.
With the average cost of a funeral in Japan reaching in excess of US$ 25,000, and human priests costing more than US$ 2,000, Nissei Eco is looking to undercut the market with Pepper available for less than US$ 500 per funeral.
However, as artificial intelligence makers try to get more and more robots into everyday life, some scholars warn about their use.
Researchers Cesar Cerrudo and Lucas Apa of the cybersecurity firm IOActive warn that robot manufacturers must deal with vulnerabilities that could allow hackers to spy on users, disable safety features and make robots lurch and move violently, putting users and bystanders in danger.
This is getting more urgent, as robots are increasingly used in homes, offices, and factories.