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China tech

China's new iron chefs: Robots and AI dish out $4 menus in Shanghai

Shanghai startup aims to answer restaurant labor shortage without losing flavor

A robot serves meals at an "AI canteen" in Shanghai. (Photo by Noriyuki Doi)

SHANGHAI -- Shanghai's newest "AI canteen" has all the hustle and bustle of a typical restaurant in China, except for one major distinction. Instead of humans, robots cook and serve the food.

Despite the staff's lack of taste buds, the menu is extensive, boasting between 10 and 20 items depending on the day, including such classic dishes as celery and shrimp stir-fry and chopped edamame and chicken. After a customer orders, cameras verify the items for an automated bill that can be paid by smartphone.

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