SanTO robot Catholic priest
Occurred: March 2019
The Wall Street Journal reports that Gabriele Trovato, a roboticist and assistant professor at Japan’s Waseda University, has repurposed a domestic robot into SanTo, a seventeen inch tall 'Catholic robot' equipped with a computer, microphone, sensors and a facial recognition-enabled camera.
Increasingly found in churches, temples and other religious institutions, robots such as SanTo typically perform religious rites such as delivering sermons, and providing basic religious advice, prompting accusations of blasphemy.
Others question SanTo's ability to answer anything but the most basic questions.
In October 2021, SanTo was featured in a BBC documentary in St. John Paul II Catholic Church in in the Bemowo district of Warsaw.
Operator: St. John Paul II Church, Warsaw
Developer: Gabriele Trovato
Purpose: Teach prayer; Provide advice
Technology: Robotics; Facial recognition
Issue: Ethics; Appropriateness/need
News, commentary, analysis
Published: October 2021