In a remarkable union of technology and spirituality, Waseda University’s roboticist Gabriele Trovato introduces SanTO, a petite anthropomorphic robot crafted to engage seniors in nursing homes through the lens of scripture.
Standing a modest foot-and-a-half tall, SanTO uses advanced facial recognition and auditory capabilities, allowing it to discern the emotional states of individuals and select relevant religious texts to provide a source of comfort to the elderly.
Trovato, with a mindful approach to AI’s interpretation of scripture, underscores the importance of maintaining a human touch in the communication of faith, steering SanTO toward the role of recitation rather than theological analysis.
As the realms of robots and artificial intelligence delve deeper into the spiritual landscape, with robots delivering sermons and even the pope endorsing apps, SanTO’s purpose extends beyond theological engagement.
Positioned as a technological companion designed to alleviate loneliness among the elderly, reminiscent of robotic pets, SanTO exemplifies the evolving role of technology in offering solace and companionship.
While scholars contemplate the potential impact of this technological shift on human-God connections, SanTO stands as a tangible embodiment of technology integrated into the emotional well-being of seniors, signaling a broader potential for robotics in elder care facilities.