World’s first robot monk goes bilingual

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:English Xian'er group     Time:2017-08-17 15:10:42
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World’s first robot monk Xian'er launched his online dialogue service in English at the Animation Center of Longquan Monastery in Beijing.

On August 16th, Xian’er, the world’s first robot monk launched his online dialogue service in English at the Animation Center of Longquan Monastery in Beijing. Ven. Master Xianqing, Ven.Master Xianshu, and Ven.Master Xiandu attended the inauguration and delivered speeches. Representatives from Tencent Technology Co. were also present and made speeches. 

Since May 20th, 2017, the AI Center, the Translation Center, both of Beijing Longquan Monastery and Tencent Technology Co. have started working together on the ‘Xian’er Speaks English’ Project. Thanks to 12 weeks’ of hard collaborative efforts of Longquan Monastery’smonks and lay disciples, the contribution of numerous Chinese and international volunteers and the technical support of Tecent,, the English-speaking Xian’er finally meets the world today. 

Dressed in a traditional Buddhist yellow robe, Xian’er was applauded by the audience, for his adorable appearance and sometimes childish yet witty responses.

Having nearly 1.2 million subscribers on WeChat today, Xian’er has become a good buddy, an inspiring friend of hi followers and fans from all over the world. With the release of its English version, Xian’er also shoulders a mission as a Dharma messenger and a bridge connecting the East and the West. Employing technology for virtuous ends and considering different cultural requirements and characteristics, the English database and technical teams integrated Buddhist wisdom and modern technology. This achievement will surely bring positive energy to more and more people in the world .

Looking back to its debut in 2015, the robot monk Xian’er has grown up rapidly in just two years. Based on the XiaoYou robot developed by Canbot Robotics Technologies Co., the robot monk’s first generation was built with a core software system incorporating Buddhist knowledge that allowed the robot monk to perform simple interactions with his fans.

On September 15th, 2016, the second generation of robot monk Xian’er was launched. In comparison with the first one, Xian’er’s height almost doubled to 110cm with flexible arms capable of more movements. Both hardware and software have been greatly improved for better performance in terms of user experience and system scalability. Enhanced user interactivity is available including recognition of people and things, as well as GPS and navigation capabilities. 

Meanwhile, the corpus database of the second generation has been greatly expanded with significantly improved communication capabilities. Cloud-client based system in the robot brains with open interface has been embedded to facilitate the integration and real-time upgrade of third party applications.

The release of this English version represents the further enrichment and improvement of the robot monk’s corpus database and communication capabilities. 

The continuous research and development of the robot monk has demonstrated a united effort by both the monks and laymen of Beijing Longquan Monastery as well as volunteers, companies, universities and research institutions in the fields of voice recognition, big data, cloud technology, intelligent communication, UI design, translation firms, etc. 

‘The Robot Monk Xian’er, representing the Buddhist cultural image and implication, opened up a path of sound development leading to spiritual enlightenment in the upcoming era of AI. The thoughts and meaning of Buddhism in this modern era need to be conveyed in the form of animation and AI that cater to popular taste. In this way, there will be no distance between Xian’er and society, and he will be easily accepted by both Buddhists and non-Buddhists thereby establishing affinity with all of them.’ Ven.Master Xuecheng, the abbot of Beijing Longquan Monastery, mentioned in his speech on the First China-Canada-US Buddhist Forum this June in Canada.

 

Master Xianshu and volunteers in Animation center of Longquan Monaster in Beijing in September 2015

 

The second generation of robot monk appeared amazingly in the Mid- Autumn Festival Evening Event of Longquan Monastery on September 15th, 2016 

 

Robot monk appeared at AI World Beijing on October 18th,2016 

 

“Xian’er Speaks English” Project launched on May 20th, 2017 

 

Engineers of Tencent Wechat Pattern recognition center

 

English teachers of Xian’er robot Monk 

 

In-house launch of English-speaking Xian’er on August 16th, 2017

 

 

Dialogue Screen shot between Xian’er and his fans

 

‘Xian’er Speaks English’ Milestone

Since 2006 Ven. Master Xuecheng has started to answer all kinds of questions from internet users via his Sina Blog. Ven. Master Xuecheng once proposed to promote Buddhism wisdom in a media genic way and a more popular manner, like cartoon and animation. In order to put this concept into practice and better spread Buddhist Sutras and Buddhism, Master Xianfan and Master Xianshu worked together and designed a cartoon character ‘Xian’er’. It enables Buddhism wisdom to be spread through friendly cartoon image with humorous words and talks.

2014Beijing Longquan Monastery published Buddhism cartoon series ‘Trouble, you seek for yourself’.

May, 2015Masters of Longquan Monastery expressed their wish to make a Buddhist robot monk. The project ‘Making a robot monk in Longquan Monastery’ was put on the agenda. Monks and laymen started to work together closely on it.

July 30, 2015Under instruction of Ven. Master Xuecheng, abbot of Longquan Monastery, with the involvement of masters, volunteers and lots of social science & technology professionals and engineers, the First R&D Kickoff Conference was held in Longquan Monastery. The robot R&D elites from all over China gathered in Animation Center of Longquan Monastery.

October 1, 2015 The first generation of robot monk made its first debut in the 10th Anniversary of Religious activities Restoration Tea Ceremony Party of Longquan Monastery & National Day Celebration of Year 2015. On October 3, Xian’er appeared in Cartoon & Animation Festival in Guangzhou and soon became an internet celebrity.

September 15, 2016 The second generation of robot monk appeared amazingly in the Mid- Autumn Festival Evening Event of Longquan Monastery.

September 25, 2016 Xian’er Wechat public account registered. The initial data of the account were collected from Q&As between Ven. Master Xuecheng and netizens in the past years. With artificial intelligence technology, Xian’er managed to find the most proper answer for each questioner.

August 16, 2017In-house launch of English-speaking Xian’er

Editor:May Shi
Tags:world first robot monk goes bilingual

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