Increase in the aging population of Japan + Japanese’ changing lifestyles open up new ways of sending off their loved ones. And yes, Pepper is one of them— a robot who can chant during mourning rituals. As noted in the news, it’s seen as a cheaper option than hiring actual priests. Replacing a priest sounds uncanny at the beginning, but if it’s a companion rather than a total replacement, maybe it’s less of a threat. Designing a robot who can perform a ritual also opens up a new array of challenges and opportunities for ritual design.