The American supermarket chain, Walmart has said that it uses AI recognition technology on its checkouts to help root out shoplifters.

The AI cameras are capable of spotting when items have been placed inside a shopping bag without having been scanned either by a cashier or through the self-service scan mechanism.

Speaking to Business Insider, the supermarket giant said that the AI tech was in use across more than 1,000 of its branches. Walmart said that the measures have been taken to “ensure the safety of our customers and associates.”

Walmart spokeswoman LeMia Jenkins said.

“Over the last three years, the company has invested over half a billion dollars in an effort to prevent, reduce and deter crime in our stores and parking lots. We are continuously investing in people, programs and technology to keep our stores and communities safe.”

The technology at the heart of the new ‘Missed Scan Detection by Walmart’ security programme, is supplied by AI specialists, Everseen, which are based in Ireland.

Rather than following people, the scanning software looks for items being put into shopping bags before they’ve been checked out. If an item raises suspicion, the computer system can call in a member of staff to “help” the person involved.

According to Walmart, theft numbers have fallen since the technology's implementation. Speaking to the BBC, the UK supermarket Sainsbury’s said that AI cameras are not used in its stores.

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