What Japan’s new Robot Buddhist Priest means for marketing

by | Oct 10, 2019 | Analysis, Public Relations

“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”

That’s one of the ten favorite quotes of Buddha whose followers founded the Buddhism religion which today has more than 480 million followers in 178 countries. India has the most with 1.2 billion, followed by the U.S., Russia and Japan.

Every religion in the world is facing challenges today in increasing its presence in people’s lives, as well as raising more funds. So why should it be strange that Japan introduce a new Buddhist priest recently?

Meet Mindar

Mindar is the newest Buddhist priest at 400-year-old Kodaji temple in Kyoto, Japan — and it happens to be a robot. Developed at a cost of $1 million in partnership with a local university, it was introduced to temple members in June. The robot prays, blesses and can even perform ceremonies. A spokesperson for the temple said the robot was produced with the hope of getting younger people interested in Buddhism.

What’s next

Here at home, AI and robot technologies have been gaining rapid popularity. They’re used on production lines, as home appliances, to turn on our lights, and even used in some surgeries.

What has lots of folks worried is an Oxford University analysis said about half of existing jobs will be taken over by robots over the next 25 years. The good news on certain fronts is that robotics was also expected to become a 4100 billion industry generating 3 million new jobs by 2020.

How does it impact marketing?

Data analysis will continue to improve, as will help desks. As useful as both will be, there will still be a need for a human policing ethics. And as useful as AI may be, it cannot sell itself. An AI development manager of sorts will be required to perform this function and coordinate things.

With ongoing improvements will come faster speeds so marketing managers will need to analyze the data and reach decisions quicker. CMOs will have to learn to referee and judge partnerships between staff and AI robots. While the latter may produce accurate data with faster speeds endlessly, they cannot replace the empathy, understanding and humanity of people.

Public relations staff will need to improve their skills in learning how to respond to issues dealing with cryptocurrencies, bitcoins, etc. in order to maintain their company’s integrity and credibility.

Some analysts see a future where customer will own their data and be able to sell it. If so, the position of a licensed data broker may be necessary in the company with plans on how to market and use the data.

Finally, some futurists see a world with employees and applicants who have been genetically enhanced. This will require much discussion and counsel between public relations and human resources folk to avert any adverse publicity.

When Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it,” he may not have foreseen a talking android of himself on YouTube.

Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR, a leading PR agency..


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