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Buddhist Robots to Perform Cheaper Funeral Services in Japan

When experts predicted that robots will take most of our jobs in the next few decades, priests were probably among the least concerned humans on the planet. After all, machines and spirituality don’t exactly go hand in hand. But one Japanese company is showing everyone that no job is safe, with a line of “Buddhist robots” that can perform funeral services at a fraction of the cost demanded by human priests.

Pepper, a humanoid robot developed by SoftBank Robotics, has taken on several jobs since it hit the market two years ago. Advertised as the first robot capable of reading human emotions, Pepper has been deployed to banks, sushi shops and nursing homes, where it acts as a receptionist, identifying visitors with its facial recognition software, offering information, or just chatting to people. But Pepper’s creators have recently come up with another job for the big-eyed robot – Buddhist priest for clients looking to cut down on funeral costs.

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