BlessU-2 'Segensroboter' blessing robot religious role
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
Purpose: Stimulate discussion
Issue: Ethics; Employment
Jackson J.C., et al (2023). Exposure to Robot Preachers Undermines Religious Commitment (pdf)
Loffler D., Hurtienne J., Nord I. (2019). Blessing Robot BlessU2: A Discursive Design Study to Understand the Implications of Social Robots in Religious Contexts
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Published: September 2023