Editor’s note: A version of this originally appeared on Radii, a new media platform covering culture, innovation, and life in today’s China.

Amid all the headlines about dystopian doomsday scenarios and mass surveillance of the populace, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that in some instances AI and facial recognition can be put to positive uses. A cuddly case in point: Chinese internet powerhouse Baidu has created an AI cat shelter.

The shelter, which comes complete with toys, regular dispatches of food and water, and warm spaces to sleep, features feline facial recognition to grant access. It can also check its guests for various diseases and assess whether or not they’ve been neutered. If it identifies a sick cat, a message is sent to a nearby volunteer organization that looks after stray animals to come and administer the required help.

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RADII

RADII is a window into the cultural landscape of a contemporary China that actively seeks to engage the world. This media platform was created with the awareness that, in an age of information saturation,...