CAN A ROBOT BE JEWISH? (VIDEO)

September 4th, 2020

During the Summer of 2014, the Jewish Museum of Berlin launched an unusual exhibition – on one side of the room a Jewish scribe sat patiently behind a desk writing a Torah scroll, while across the room a large machine with a robotic-arm was also writing a Torah scroll, using cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology.

Videos of the robot writing the distinctive ritual Hebrew letters quickly went viral, and blogs across the Jewish world erupted in debate over this startling revelation. Everyone wanted to know — could such a Torah ever be considered kosher? Can a robot trained to write a Sefer Torah produce one that is kosher for use? And what, if any, is the role of artificial intelligence in Jewish law?

Rabbi Dunner examines this intriguing topic by looking at a wide variety of sources and other similar halachic questions that have emerged in the course of distant and more recent Jewish history. Can one produce a Torah scroll using print techniques or silkscreening technology? Can a golem/robot be included in a minyan, or be counted as a Jew? Numerous factors need to be considered, and nothing is ever as it seems, as Rabbi Dunner reveals in this fascinating presentation.

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