Press Release: PFN/FANUC 26 February 2017.
"PFN/FANUC is pleased to announce today a strategic partnership with the Vatican.
For many decades the Catholic priesthood has been contracting. Despite the consolidation of dioceses and enhanced roles for the laity, churches have been closing and some Masses have been cancelled. The problem is particularly acute during periods such as Lent when extra weekday Masses are normally scheduled for parishioners.
The root cause is the flat productivity of the Catholic Church over 2,000 years. The ministry is extraordinarily labour-intensive, even more so than the health care sector. Finally, however, advances in Robotics and Deep Learning have allowed PFN/FANUC to introduce the Klerjibot™, based on the FANUC pedestal robot.
Capable of being rolled out on a massive scale, the automated celebrant requires only a standard power supply and broadband connection. The system ships with three languages: the vernacular for celebrating Mass, Italian as the lingua franca of the priesthood, and Latin, for dealing with the Curia.
The Klerjibot can perform Mass in fully automated mode, using its visual and auditory sensors to detect parishioners approaching for communion. More conservative jurisdictions may feel that an automaton cannot preside over such sacred mysteries as transubstantiation. In such cases the system can revert, during this phase of the Mass, to teleoperation.
PFN/FANUC and the Vatican will jointly set up a system of national call-centres where banks of trained priests will be alerted as communion approaches, remotely logging-in to the Klerjibot to take over that part of the ceremony. It is anticipated that one priest could control as many as ten different machines in widely-spaced locations, leading to an incredible increase in productivity.
First trials are expected soon in California."