In Japan, robot-for-hire programmed to perform Buddhist funeral rites

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/8/24 18:13:40

A Japanese company has introduced a new role for SoftBank's humanoid robot "Pepper" - a Buddhist priest for hire at funerals.

Chanting sutras in a computerized voice while tapping a drum, the robot was on display on Wednesday at the Life Ending Industry Expo in Tokyo.

Nissei Eco Co., an unlisted plastic molding maker, wrote the chanting software for "Pepper," which was introduced by SoftBank Group Corp. in 2014.

With Japan's population aging and shrinking, many Buddhist priests receive less financial support from their communities, said Michio Inamura, Nissei's executive adviser.

The funeral robot could step in when a priest was not available, he said.



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