Indian technology company has introduced a robotic arm that performs the ritual ‘aarti’. In the process, the person offers an oil lamp to the deity, symbolizing the removal of darkness. The robot was unveiled at the Ganpati festival, during which an icon of the elephant-headed god Ganesha is taken out in a procession and immersed in the Mula-Mutha River in Pune, central India.

Since then, this robot hand has inspired several other models, some of which continue to perform ritual regularly throughout India today, along with many other religious robots throughout East Asia and South Asia. A robot temple elephant has even been introduced in Kerala, India’s southern coast.

This religious use of robots has led to discussions about the use of artificial intelligence and robotic technology in devotional and religious services. Some priests believe that this represents a new horizon in human innovation that will lead to the improvement of society, while others worry that the use of robots instead of real people is a bad sign for the future.

Source: The Conversation