Japanese Robots Programmed To Deliver Buddhist Funerals

Technology is impacting a wide range of industries and roles and as robots are becoming more sophisticated, the range of jobs they can carry out is growing.

One of the latest uses to emerge for robots is as a Buddhist priest delivering funeral rites. Pepper, the humanoid robot developed by Softbank, can now be programmed to chant sutras while tapping a drum in a Buddhist funeral ritual.

The robot was showcased in its latest role earlier this month at the Life Ending Industry Expo in Tokyo, by Nissei Eco, a plastic moulding maker.

In Japan, the cost of a funeral can reach £20,000, with a human priest alone costing £1,700 per funeral. The idea behind programming Pepper for this ritual is to help lower the cost, with the robot available for hire at just £350 per service, according to the Guardian.

Pepper has not yet been used to conduct a funeral though, although more and more robots are being utilised in Japan as everything from companions for the elderly to entertainment avatars.

With funeral costs in the UK rising this year, people here could be looking for alternative ways of conducting funerals to help reduce the cost too.

Royal London’s recent report into the cost of funerals in the UK revealed that the cost of the average funeral in the UK increased three per cent in 2017 compared to last year and now stands at £3,784.

In addition, the organisation found that 16 per cent of people struggle to pay funeral costs in the UK, getting into an average debt of £1,680 to cover the expense of the various services and charges when a loved one dies.

If you’re looking for a Hedgerley funeral director, contact us today to find out about the services we offer.