Robots aren’t just for manufacturing and space travel anymore. We see them in a surprising range of jobs:
But what about robot rabbis?
Research on robot rabbis
You might think that a robot rabbi is an obviously bad idea and not something anyone would entertain seriously. However, there has actually been some research on the subject.
The Jerusalem Post reported on the work of Prof. Joshua Conrad Jackson of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He has studied human responses to robotic clergy in general. Jackson has found that worshippers in Buddhist temples, Taoist shrines, and Christian churches all find robot clergy less credible. They give smaller donations and are less willing to volunteer.
Interestingly, this was true in an experiment in which the same sermon was given to one group of people by a human and to another group by Pepper, a humanoid robot.
The Post speculates that the same would be true for Jewish congregations.
The Post also reported on an AI chatbot, Rebbe.io, which purports to answer religious questions. Rebbe.io told them, “this AI follows the teachings of Orthodox Judaism, specifically the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. The AI is designed to provide users with reliable and authoritative information about Jewish law and practice, based on Torah sources.” The website has a disclaimer that the AI Rabbi may give the wrong answer. It recommends checking with human rabbis.
The website also has this statement: “This AI Rabbi is using the most powerful Artificial Intelligence technology that is publicly available, and it has the ability to think and reason at the level of actual human intelligence — But unlike humans, it has the entire Torah downloaded into its brain, and it scans through thousands of books of Torah in seconds with every answer it gives — This is truly a miracle from Hashem, and we are working hard to spread this technology to all the Jews in the world, to enhance Torah Study and the observance of Halachot and Mitzvot across the globe … This is just the beginning of an AI Jewish Revolution.”
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