Thursday, July 25, 2024

Religious Robots May Worship God Better than Human, Study Found

There are serious issues with the employment of robots in religious settings, such as robotic arms that carry out the “aarti” ceremony in India, which entails lighting a candle to honour Hindu deities, as anthropology specialist Holly Waters explains in a recent article for The Conversation. 

While the aarti robots and others, such as a life-size animatronic elephant used to make a Kerala temple “cruelty-free,” excite some worshippers, others are concerned about what their use may mean for the future of religion.

“There are concerns that the proliferation of robots might lead to greater numbers of people leaving religious practise as temples begin to rely more on automation than on practitioners to care for their deities,” Waters writes, citing research that has found that younger people are, indeed, going to church less.

To the anthropologist, these concerns appear to be linked to pervasive spiritual anxiety.
“Scholars frequently observe that these concerns all tend to reflect one pervasive theme – an underlying anxiety that, in some ways, robots are better than humans at worshipping gods,” she wrote. “They can also raise inner conflicts about the meaning of life and one’s place in the universe.”

She continues by pointing out that numerous academics have noted that “robots, unlike people, are spiritually incorruptible,” which may make them a more advantageous substitute for bothersome people.

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