Robots already play an important part in people's lives, but at the Tokyo International Funeral and Cemetery Show and Life Ending Industry Expo, funereal robots showed that they could play an important role in people's deaths as well. At the expo, Nissei Eco Co. unveiled additions to its famous Pepper robot that allow the charming machine to conduct respectful, emotionally appropriate Buddhist funeral ceremonies.
Though the concept of funereal robots leading mourners through Buddhist sutras might seem unsettling, it could be a positive development for Buddhist families around the world. The unfortunate reality is that funerals are expensive, and the need for a human priest only adds to that cost. Robotic funeral leaders would reduce the cost, giving more families the opportunity to provide their loved ones with a respectful burial.