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AI has found a new use in China: Preventing toilet paper theft

Facial recognition has been used for a wide range of hi-tech applications in China – from airport security clearance to crime prevention. Now it is being used to solve a more down-to-earth problem.

On Shamian Island, a popular historical tourist attraction in Guangzhou, facial recognition for toilet paper dispensing has been introduced in some cubicles, according to a report in the Guangzhou-based Information Times. Users can remove 90cm of toilet paper after their face is recognised.

If the system detects the same face twice within 10 minutes, no further paper will be dispensed.

Hi-tech toilet paper dispensing is the latest example of China’s efforts to extend artificial intelligence (AI) into almost every aspect of daily life, including smart rubbish bins that sort recyclable material and AI-powered traffic lights.

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