A municipality in northern Turkey has installed digital screens fitted with artificial intelligence (AI) technology at bus stops to detect those not wearing mandatory masks against the coronavirus outbreak. The concept may seem outlandish at first but was deemed necessary amid the rising number of cases in the country.
These digital screens in the Black Sea province of Trabzon issue a message of warning, accompanied by a crude picture of the virus on the unmasked face of the person on the screen.
Authorities who have so far stopped short of a full lockdown across the country largely rely on people’s own awareness for self-protection, namely, wearing protective masks, adhering to social distancing and hygiene. Masks were made mandatory a few months ago in outdoor spaces across the country. Yet, people not wearing a mask or pulling them down over the chin are not an uncommon sight.
Trabzon Mayor Murat Zorluoğlu said in a written statement Monday that the screens have been “very effective.” “We wanted to raise awareness among citizens in those days where the impact of coronavirus increased again and new measures are taken,” he said.
The public reaction, meanwhile, is mixed. Those wearing masks appreciate the use of screens while others, out of sheer curiousity, pull down masks to take selfies with their face on the screen.
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