Meet Pepper, Japan's robot priest that can now conduct funerals

Religion is a great opportunity for automation since the parameters are unchanging.

  1. This is Holy Book.

  2. The Holy Book is all true.

  3. If any of the Holy Book is untrue, see rule 2


I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the faith. And I want to help you.


Who is a… photographer?

Came for the Dirk Gently quote. All is well. Proceed.

But I am with the Japanese on this one. The prices for having a genuine priest to fulfil an entirely formulaic role seem to be more than the market would bear. If the relatives are there, that’s the human presence that counts. The grave can be dug by a backhoe (thanks Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers for providing me with the American for a JCB); and likewise, a robot can also deal with the ritual. The route to an afterlife is not determined by the Earthly body of the church. Yeah, all those indulgences you bought ain’t worth shit, bummer, eh?

But maybe it’s just my family. My dad gave his body to science to avoid funeral fees. I shall go to my Maker in a green wheelie bin on alternate Tuesdays. This just seems logical to me.


That raises an interesting question, does Pepper have a flame-thrower option?


Thank you, already thought I’m the only one stumbling over that name.

Japanese graves look like this:

Buddhists creamate the dead and the cremains go into the base of the monument.

In fact though there seems to be zero demand for this product

Yes. Apparently it is a marketing ploy. Poo. But they do have temples with automation that can produce the urn with a given ancestor’s ashes in. I think I remember this used the transports used in some tape archiving systems, but it was some time ago. So, the idea may not be wholly silly to Japanese eyes, even if this particular embodiment is.

There was one place like that but AFAIK it’s really not a thing here

Heigh-ho. I am wrong about everything. But I am now wiser. Thanks.

I did briefly go out to Tokyo a couple of times in the nineties, and the country seemed up for that sort of thing, but coming down fast after the end of the property boom. Perhaps they have all mellowed.

I don’t mean to paint you as wrong! This country can be hard to understand below the surface and unfortunately most English language coverage only sees the sensationalist surface.

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