Kyoto, Japan’s ancient former capital, is home to temples, shrines, and imperial gardens. As the birthplace of Japanese tradition, the city attracts some 53 million tourists every year.
In Revelation 13, we see the frightening picture of the beast that is brought to life that is able to speak and kill. The beast demands worship at the tip of a sword. But you don’t have to wait for the time of Jacob’s trouble to begin in order to see people worshipping the image of a beast brought to life. The fine folks at the Kodaiji buddhist temple in Japan are happy to demonstrate that for you.
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Revelation 13:15 (KJV)
In case you have been visiting another planet and are not up to speed, robots and robot culture have arrived, with new models and operating systems updated daily. People have having sex with robots, using robots to operate humanless businesses, and just about anything else you can think of.
“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon,” said Musk. “In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like, ‘Yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon.’ Doesn’t work out.” Elon Musk
End Times inventor Elon Musk has a very correct perspective on AI and the rise of robots, we would do well to heed his words. But guess what? No one is listening.
An Ancient Japanese Shrine Debuts a Buddhist Robot
FROM THE DIPLOMAT: Recently, the famed 400-year old Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto unveiled a modern makeover. The world’s first sutra-chanting android deity, modelled after Kannon the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, was introduced to the public last week. Kannon is worshiped by thousands of temples in Japan as a deity who helps people in distress; now the country’s fascination with robotics has made its way into that worship.
Kodaiji Temple Administrator Tensho Goto wanted to spread the word of Buddhism to a younger generation losing touch with the tradition. He enlisted the help of pioneer Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, head of intelligent robotics at Osaka University, who has made a name for himself in robotic research on the world stage.
The resulting android version of Kannon, named ‘Mindar‘, stands on a pedestal at 195 centimeters tall (6 feet, 4 inches), weighs 60 kilograms, and is made with silicon and aluminum. Like many of Ishiguro’s popular telenoid robots, Mindar takes a gender-neutral human form. The appearance is kept to a bare minimum — almost like a naked robot. But as an android embodying the Goddess of Mercy, Mindar had special features designed to evoke both feminine and masculine qualities. With an open head of exposed aluminum wires and a mechanical lower half, Mindar might not be how some would picture a robotic Kannon. However, the plain facial features give room for visitors to use their own imagination in how they’d like the deity to appear.
Kohei Ogawa is Associate Professor of Intelligent Robotics at the University of Osaka and worked on the inception of Mindar with Ishiguro. He says the images of deities that we see from relics and statues today have been set in stone by the imagination of different generations of monks in the past. But a new generation of monks sees robotics as a way to diversify how people see and worship these household deities.
“Everything depends on the person who is watching the robot,” Ogawa explains. “If someone wants to treat the android as a man, there will be some elements that represent a male form and vice versa.”
Ogawa says an android deity isn’t a normal experience for the Japanese and is still an alien concept. But Japanese people don’t carry stereotypical thinking when it comes to robots and don’t hold any prejudices. “They just think ‘oh, what’s happened here’ and then just accept it,” he laughs.
The unique joint collaboration cost a cool 100 million yen ($909,090). Ogawa says not everyone high up within the Kodaiji Temple ranks approves of the latest technology. Nonetheless, monks gathered at the opening ceremony to introduce android Kannon to the media with a traditional ceremony of chanting, bowing, drumming, and the ringing of bells.
To imitate a “natural” dialogue Mindar can move its eyes, hands, and torso, make human-like gestures during its speech, and bring its hands together in prayer. A camera implanted in the left eye to focus on a subject gives the impression of eye contact.
Mindar’s 25 minute pre-programmed sermon is based on the deeply philosophical religious text called the Heart Sutra, which is well known in Japan and Asia. But Ogawa says the meaning behind the important text is barely understood by anyone; even monks merely chant and recite the sutra without engaging in its contents. “Monks don’t discuss the true meaning of the Heart Sutra to worshippers; they just read it like poetry,” he says. “But this doesn’t work. The monks are like robots.”
The project has adopted for the first time an interactive 3D projection mapping, where visitors in the room are projected in 3D through an omnidirectional projector. On the wall behind Mindar, a projected pre-programmed person asks the android questions about the Heart Sutra text. Mindar answers in simple and plain Japanese, with English and Chinese subtitles displayed on the wall.
The “Kannon android can convey very complicated messages to visitors, which makes it easier for them to listen to the message,” Ogawa explains. “Visitors feel as if the robot and the person projected on the screen are making a real-time interaction.”
“The Heart Sutra should encourage people to solve problems on their own and give people the opportunity to think about what the problem is. We can give visitors the chance to start reflecting on themselves,” he adds
Mindar is not open to the public until March 8
The android is being displayed on a trial run until May, when Ogawa will analyze data to tweak any necessary updates. Already there are ambitions to enhance Mindar to be able to respond to visitors’ questions and diverse personal problems. READ MORE
Android Kannon Named Mindar
With artificial Intelligence we’re summoning the beast
“I have exposure to the most cutting edge AI and I think people should be really concerned about it,” Musk once said in a speech at the National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island. “I keep sounding the alarm bell.
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