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Let's say programmers create an AI robot that is conscious and programmed to be a Rabbi, can it receive a Semikhah? If so, if it outputs blessings are they valid?

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  • That will almost certainly never happen. And only humans can make blessings.
    – N.T.
    Sep 20 at 6:50
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    "does it count" - for what please? Sep 20 at 8:06
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    What does being a Rabbi and having Semikhah have to do with making valid blessings? Sep 20 at 11:59
  • @N.T. given a lot of the stuff that the Gemara discusses, I'm not sure "that will almost certainly never happen" is a good argument! :-D Sep 20 at 16:05
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    A robot programmed for Judaica would be invaluable in constructing halachic arguments. But they would have to be validated first by living rabbis. Sep 20 at 16:27

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I think that there are a few points worth clarifying here.

  1. The Torah was given to humans, not machines. Even if a machine were somehow to attain consciousness (if that is even possible) and "want" to keep the Torah, it wouldn't be able to do very much since mitzvos are designed for humanity. Just as the Torah wasn't given to angels, it wasn't given to machines.
  2. I can't imagine that Rabbonim would allow such a system to go through conversion because it makes little sense, and if it isn't Jewish, it certainly can't get Semichah
  3. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "output blessings". It can't make blessings on food, for example, because it doesn't eat. I can't think of any blessings that make sense for it to output. I'm also not sure why you think it is necessary to be a Rabbi to "output blessings"?
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    What if a robot is programmed to make a bracha on a rainbow, lightning, thunder, Birchas Hashachar etc. can you answer amen? Even if it isn’t Jewish robot
    – Chatzkel
    Sep 20 at 12:35
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    @Chatzkel I believe that the psak is that you can't answer amen to a recording or over the phone, so I'd go with this being the same kind of thing? Sep 20 at 16:03
  • Or like a microphone?
    – Chatzkel
    Sep 20 at 16:55
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    @Chatzkel with a microphone, there is an actual person making the actual bracha at the time when you hear sound from the amplification system. End even if you don't hear the person making a bracha but are just aware that it has been made, you can say amen. If there is no person making a bracha at that time, as is the case with a recording (or radio, where there is a short delay), you can't say amen.
    – Esther
    Sep 21 at 19:15

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