BlessU-2 'Segensroboter' blessing robot triggers controversy

Occurred: May 2017

BlessU-2, a robot priest introduced by the Protestant Church in Wittenberg, Germany, to mark 500 years since the Reformation, triggered debate about the ethics, credibility, and effectiveness of robots as religious preachers.

Designed to provoke discussion about whether machines have a place within the clergy, BlessU-2 provides blessings in five languages and recites over 40 verses from the Bible. 

However, the bot also triggered debate on whether or not robots will induce religious decline, and about the potential for robots to replace religious jobs. 

Wittenberg is where Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation by nailing his 95 theses to a church door in the town calling for religious reform.

Operator: LichtKirche Wittenberg
Developer: LichtKirche Wittenberg
Country: Germany
Sector: Religion
Purpose: Stimulate discussion  
Technology: Robotics
Issue: Ethics; Employment

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Type: Issue
Published: September 2023