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Robots in Robes: Buddhism, AI, and Skillful Means, 2019 Numata Lecture
October 17, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Please join us for the 2019 Numata Lecture
with Dr. Courtney Bruntz
Thursday October 17 at 4 p.m.
Robots in Robes: Buddhism, AI, and Skillful Means
In 2015, the Longquan Temple outside Beijing unveiled “Xian’er” — a two-foot-tall robot monk capable of responding to questions, chanting sutras, and singing Buddhist songs. A few years later, the Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto debuted “Mindar” — a six foot tall android Kannon (the Bodhisattva of Compassion) with the ability to provide a sermon on the Heart Sutra. This lecture explores intersections of Buddhism and robotics to reveal the variety of ways in which Buddhists are making use of artificial intelligence in Chinese and Japanese contexts, plus the justifications Buddhist leaders provide for embracing robotic technology. From political support to survival, Buddhist communities are utilizing AI as skillful means. But at what cost? At the conclusion, this lecture seeks to unravel the implications of Buddhists adopting AI.
Dr. Courtney Bruntz, Assistant Professor of Asian Religions at Doane University. Dr. Bruntz’s work focuses on tourism and economics in mainland China, including the use of new media technology and robotics by Buddhist monastics. She is co-editor of the forthcoming book from University of Hawaii Press, Buddhist Tourism in Asia.
This event is free and open to the public.