Buddhist temple: that of Longquan uses artificial intelligence

10/07/2018

 

The Buddhist robotic monk of Longquan temple is becoming even smarter

 

Xian’er is the Buddhist robotic monk of Longquan temple, created by Longquan Temple’s information and technology center. Its task is to respond to users on philosophical questions.

Currently, the Longquan Temple Information and Technology Center is working on artificial intelligence to improve their Xian’er robot monk. The aim is to make the robot able to organize the Chinese Buddhist canon, that is the total body of the Buddhist canon in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.

According to Xinxian Master of the temple at TechCrunch Hangzhou, the center optimized optical character recognition via machine learning, making the technology more suited for ancient characters and now the AI technology can even add punctuation to the ancient texts.

 

Xian’er mean virtuous but stupid in Chinese

 

Entering the Longquan Temple, we would see that the robot is about half a meter tall and holds a tablet in front of his belly. You can talk to the robot or select questions on the screen.

If instead we do not want to move from where we are, it would be enough to go on WeChat, where the robot monk has a mini program. Xian’er is designed to tackle metaphysical problems like the meaning of life, so we could ask to the robot “What’s the meaning of life”.

 

The official WeChat account of Xian’er already has 1.3 million followers

 

Xian’er quoted a famous Chinese writer Feng Zikai: “There are three stages of life, meaning material, spiritual and soul. Material life means food and clothing, spiritual means art and literature, and soul means religion. One can not always stay in the first stage. One needs to move upward.”

But Xian’er is not just a robot. The temple, in fact, also produced an educational cartoon series featuring Xian’er practicing Buddhism. The aim of this products, anyway, is to spread the practise of Buddhism and not to gain profits.

 

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