From India to Japan, religions are experimenting with the use of AI and robotics for spiritual customs. Though it’s still a relatively new area, it’s become controversial because of the differing perspectives on its potential benefits and drawbacks. While AI will likely last longer than a regular human lifespan, will it be able to conjure the type of consciousness or spirituality required to lead religion? From Japan to India, there are people who think so. Some Buddhist temples in Japan have used robots to give sermons and interact with visitors, and in India, robotic arms perform aarti–a ritual of offering an oil lamp to a deity. From reciting chants to worship services, we will likely see many more experiments in the years to come. Do you think AI and robotics can provide new opportunities for spiritual growth or are you concerned about the ethical implications?
In February, 800,000 liters of industrial fuel was dropped into the Mindoro Provinces, Southwest of Manila, home to the highest concentration of marine biodiversity on the planet. The Philippines is now in crisis mode as the oil spill threatens marine life and the local jobs that depend on it. Cleanup costs will be high, with people's health and livelihoods on the line. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. believes the government will be able to contain and clean the spill in the next 4 months, while scientists are concerned that the damage will have long-lasting impacts on the delicate ecosystem. Voiceover Jeremy Kruis Producer Joy Jihyun Jeong Manal Ahmed Head of Production Stephanie Tangkilisan Editor in Chief Keshia Hannam Editor Emily Ma Additional Archival Material Al Jazeera Reuters Krypto Trekker/YouTube Tour Philippines/YouTube ANC Digital Additional Music Waiting for the Answer by Ballian De Moulle
1,200+ Iranian girls across hundreds of schools have been poisoned. As government investigations, still largely unknown, continue into who is responsible and what their motivations are, the death penalty has been promised–if the attacks are found to be deliberate. These girls reported symptoms consistent with toxic gas poisoning–like dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations, and difficulty moving. They also reported smelling rotten food, chlorine, or cleaning agents before fainting. While many people are pointing to fundamentalist groups targeting girls education, Iran’s government is blaming “foreign enemies” and their supreme leader is calling it an “unforgivable” crime. What is clear, Iranian girls are paying the price. Will the true perpetrators be found and held accountable? First arrests were announced on Tuesday.
Turkish authorities have arrested 184 building contractors and property owners, who were allegedly involved in shoddy construction methods. However, the government knew about these unsafe practices near the faultlines for years. Who's really responsible? Since the initial earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, there have been over 10,000 aftershocks and over 50,000 people have died. 1.5 million people are living in makeshift shelters and 160,000 buildings collapsed. But corrupt building practices and flawed urban development can’t be solely pinned on construction contractors when the government continues to focus on speed more than safety.
Is the Asian community experiencing a mental health crisis? Issues like PTSD are on the rise in our diaspora for many reasons, including long standing racism and cultural shame seeking help. How have immigration and gentrification impacted our mental health? In the past year, five major killings have been by Asian men. This includes last week’s U-haul driver, Weng Sor, whose violent rampage left 1 dead and 8 others injured. Sor was 62-years-old, homeless, and estranged from his family. Experts point to the spur of Asian hate in the past few years, isolation and fear about being blamed for Covid, and the continued gentrification of places like Chinatown as factors to why these tragedies continue to occur. How will our governments address this–and more importantly, how will our communities handle it?
Will Kim Jong Un’s successor be his 9-year-old daughter? Kim Ju-ae has become a prominent figure at some of North Korea’s biggest moments, unlike her siblings that we know very little about. Does this point to her legitimacy as the future leader of North Korea or is it a PR stunt by the regime? Kim Ju-ae made her first appearance at a missile launch in 2022, and last week she was at the 75th anniversary celebration of the North Korean army. Already getting comfortable in the limelight and opting in for intimate moments shared with her father, Kim Ju-ae has experts wondering. Is there a possibility that a woman can ever become the face of this country?