SEOUL, Feb. 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea appears to be setting its sights on Fourth Industrial Revolution technology, such as artificial intelligence, in a bid to explore ways to expand its applications.
The Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's main newspaper, reported Dec. 24 that global competition for science and technology has been intensifying, citing efforts to apply AI to the education sector and the increased use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology.
The Korean Central Broadcasting Station, the country's state-run radio network, said in November last year that other countries are actively using AI to ramp up agricultural production.
Last year, Korean Central Television also aired footage introducing a newly developed VR-based education program that enables users to learn about North Korea's history and culture around the third to the fourth century B.C.
North Korea's state media appears to introduce global trends of new technologies in a bid to explore ways to expand their use in the agricultural and education fields.
But the isolated nation also may attempt to use Fourth Industrial Revolution technology for military purposes.
Kim Hyuk, a research fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said in a report that North Korean researchers have applied AI and its sub-field machine learning (ML) for "sensitive applications, such as wargaming and surveillance and continued scientific collaboration with foreign scholars until recently."
In his report carried by 38 North, a U.S. website monitoring North Korea, Kim said, "North Korea's conceived wargaming environment might be actual conflicts at a tactical level involving artillery shells."
Kim said given that AI/ML technology could be transferred via intangible means, it is important to monitor the North's activities and implement measures to mitigate potential sanctions risks within the academic and private sectors, if necessary.