Articles  |    |  May 15, 2018

Masahiro Mori’s Buddhist philosophy of robot

Article by Takeshi Kimura.
Published in Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics.


Masahiro Mori is a well-known Japanese robotics scholar whose notion of Uncanny Valley is worldly famous. Mori is also an initiator of the Robot Contest and a student of Buddhism and a practitioner of Zen. He constructs his original Buddhist philosophy of robotics throughout his career. His robotics work and his learning of Buddhism develop together side by side in an interesting intertwined manner. This paper will take up the issues such as the ethical personality, quality of minds, and experiences of engineers as key components in and for an “ethical design” of robots by examining Mori’s Buddhist philosophy of robotics. This paper is divided into four sections. After an introductory part, in the second section, we will explore Mori’s view of Zen as aspiritual source for technological creativity. In Section 3, we will examine his view into a robot-contest as a location of a realized teaching of Buddhism, especially, in relationship to the Diamond Sūtra, in order to see Mori’s educational contribution. In Section 4, we will examine how Mori became engaged to learn and practice Buddhism and came to the realization of Buddhahood in relation to robotics.