New East Digital Archive

Head of Russian Orthodox Church in robot snub

17 October 2016

Not just anyone gets to shake the hand of the the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill. Last week he gave a robot the cold shoulder, and voiced concerns over the use of robots in education.

Patriarch Kirill met the robot at the Orthodox Student Forum in Moscow, which presents the role of the Church in the development of the young generation and scientific progress. FEDOR, a robot designed to operate aboard the International Space Station, seemed keen to make the acquaintance of the Church head, reaching out for a handshake. Patriarch Kirill, however, did not reciprocate the gesture.

His reluctance to exchange pleasantries with the robot seems to reflect Patriarch Kirill’s concerns about the limits of using such technology in education.

“We need to be creating robotics using our human intelligence, with designs for the right purposes,” he said. “I don’t know how right it would be for robots to be doing teaching ... They can transmit information, of course, but I’m certain that a robot cannot mentor a person into maturity.”

Source: The Moscow Times