Hinduism and Buddhism, with their heavy emphasis on praxis, are seeing automation replacing human devotees in some rituals. Holly Walters writes about the rise of robots built to worship and the discomfort that brings some of the faithful.
As an anthropologist who specializes in religion, however, I focus less on the theology of robotics and more on what people actually say and do when it comes to their spiritual practices. My current work on religious robots primarily centers on the notion of “divine object-persons,” where otherwise inanimate things are viewed as having a living, conscious essence. My work also looks at the uneasiness Hindus and Buddhists express about ritual-performing automatons replacing people and whether those automatons actually might make better devotees.
I don’t blame those who feel uncomfortable with this turn of events. Religious practices aimed at devotion are more than merely material. To give out the role for completing these acts to entities without what we would think of as souls seems deeply disturbing.
Source: Robots are performing Hindu rituals – some devotees fear they’ll replace worshippers | The Conversation
Via Clive Thompson