While Cicero said “the life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living,” it turns out, robots will suffice. A funeral-overseeing robot made an appearance this week at Tokyo’s premier funeral industry fair, the aptly named Life Ending Industry Expo, according to The Guardian. The robot was a Pepper model from SoftBank, programmed with all the rites of a traditional Buddhist funeral. In theory, it will help a family cut costs associated with traditional funerals.
SoftBank created the robot, but its plastic molding maker, Nissei Eco, apparently envisions a future where we are all ushered into the afterlife by robots, and it’s making Pepper’s services available for just $448. Considering that Japanese funerals tend to run about $25,000, according to The Guardian, that’s a bargain. Plus, she can probably play your 16-hour funeral playlist of “Forever Young” and “So Alive” on a loop.
Read more about it here, and then watch Pepper in action in the video from SoftBank, which looks like B-Roll from an episode of Doctor Who.