"Robot, let us pray! Can and should robots have religious functions? An ethical exploration of religious robots" by Anna Puzio.

"With approximately 20 religious robots worldwide, religious robotics is still in its early stages (Balle 2022). However, there are already some notable examples of religious robots, and with advancing technology, it is expected that their numbers will increase. Here is a brief overview: BlessU-2, a German robot, delivers blessings in various languages (Löffler et al. 2021, p. 575). SanTO (the Sanctified Theomorphic Operator) (Trovato et al. 2019) takes on the appearance of a Christian Catholic saint and recites sacred texts while accompanying the faithful in prayer. It also serves as a companion with psychological functions, contributing to the well-being of individuals, particularly the elderly (Löffler et al. 2021, p. 573; Trovato et al. 2021, p. 545). Celeste, resembling a Catholic angel, provides spiritual guidance through prayer and prints personalized Bible verses. Meanwhile, Mindar, a robot priest in Japan, embodies the Buddhist teacher, Kannon Bodhisattva, and conducts Zen ceremonies at the temple (Smith 2022, p. ch. 5; Klein 2019). The monk robot, Xi’aner, follows visitors around the temple, responds to their inquiries about Buddhism and plays Buddhist music. It is also available as a chatbot with which you can communicate over online messenger services. Xi’aner is designed with the purpose of promoting Buddhism in China (Trovato et al. 2021, p. 544; Löffler et al. 2021, p. 573). Consequently, it is perceived not as a threat to religious teachings but rather as a means of contributing to the dissemination of Buddhism (Löffler et al. 2021, p. 573). Moreover, in Japan, the humanoid robot Pepper is utilized in Buddhist funerals because it is cheaper than a human priest. It also broadcasts the ceremony over the internet for those who are unable to attend (ibid.). Michael Arnold et al. (2021) delve into the deployment of Carl, Pepper, and the robot dog, Aibo, in funeral settings."


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