As funerals continue to get more and more expensive, people are looking for ways to make them cheaper for themselves. In Japan, there is now a new option that might eventually make its way to the U.S.
You do not need to look very far to find discussion of a potential future, where humans do little work and have been replaced by robots. While such discussion was once mainly limited to science fiction stories, it is now a hot topic in the mainstream news.
Tech companies and car companies are engaged in a race to develop self-driving vehicles, which could put millions of drivers out of work. Grocery chains are looking to automate. Restaurants are automating some services.
The list goes on and on, as people look for ways to save on labor costs by replacing humans with robots.
There is now even the surprising twist that robots could eventually put funeral directors and priests out of work, according to The Guardian in "The future of funerals? Robot priest launched to undercut human-led rites."
A company in Japan has developed a robot that can perform the rites of a Buddhist priest at funerals, for a quarter of the cost a human priest would typically charge.
If people start using the service, it is likely the idea will spread to other countries before too long.
However, it is not certain that people will accept religious functions conducted by a robot.
For now, no one needs to think about this for their own funerals.
Nevertheless, in the future, it might be one more thing elderly Americans need to think about.
Will they still want a human to conduct their funerals or will they prefer a cheaper robot?
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Reference: The Guardian (Aug. 23, 2017) "The future of funerals? Robot priest launched to undercut human-led rites."