The wisdom of robots?

Can robots be monks? The Longquan (Dragon Spring) Temple, in the mountains northwest of Beijing, thinks so. A robot, after all, can be programmed to learn, pray, and resist temptation. And this robot, a 2-foot-tall saffron-robed guy named Worthy Stupid Robot Monk (stupid is a term of affection in the Beijing dialect), even dispenses wisdom.

Ask “What is love?” and it says, “Love is your own obsessions not being satisfied, the clashing of other people’s troubles with yours.” Mention that you want to die and it cautions, “Don’t assume you’re the most pathetic person in the world.” Human monks say it proves that science and Buddhism are compatible. But since Worthy Stupid Robot Monk lacks a heart, not everyone believes the advice is heartfelt. 

—Tim Gihring, Editor

April 28, 2016

From the New York Times, April 27, 2016