Technology will eventually replace many jobs across the world, but now, at least in Germany, robots may takeover the priesthood.
Blessings at the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau will now come from a robot rather than the church staff. The ‘priest’ robot operates through a screen on its chest and communicates with the congregation in either a male of female voice that the worshipers can choose.
The robot officially named BlessU-2 can also recite Bible verses. The ‘robot priest’ is part of the exhibition to mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation.
“We wanted people to consider if it is possible to be blessed by a machine, or if a human being is needed,” he said.
“The idea is to provoke debate,” said Krebs. “People from the street are curious, amused and interested. They are really taken with it, and are very positive. But inside the church, some people think we want to replace human pastors with machines. Those that are church-oriented are more critical.”
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According to Stephan Krebs of the Protestant church, the robots are more about ‘sparking debate’ rather than replacing ministers, the church leader stated that robots “could never substitute for pastoral care.”
“We don’t want to robotize our church work, but see if we can bring a theological perspective to a machine.”