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North Korea’s Embrace of Fourth Industrial Revolution Technology: Exploring its Applications in Agriculture, Education and Military Implications


Feb 11, 2024
North Korea aims to acquire 4th Industrial Revolution technology

In a recent image from North Korea’s Korean Central Television, college students are seen looking around artificial intelligence robots at a science and technology exhibition on Oct. 24, 2023. The interest of North Korea in Fourth Industrial Revolution technology, particularly artificial intelligence, is evident as it explores new ways to expand its applications.

According to Rodong Sinmun on Dec. 24th, global competition for science and technology is increasing, with the application of AI to the education sector being one of the significant efforts. Furthermore, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology are being used more widely in various sectors. The Korean Central Broadcasting Station also reported last November that other countries are actively using AI to increase agricultural production.

Footage from Korean Central Television showed a new VR-based education program developed last year that allows users to learn about North Korea’s history and culture from the third to fourth century B.C. It appears that North Korea’s state media is introducing global trends of new technologies in order to expand their use in the agricultural and education fields, but there is also potential for military use.

Kim Hyuk, a research fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, reported that North Korean researchers have applied AI and its sub-field machine learning (ML) for military applications. The wargaming environment conceived by North Korea might be actual conflicts at a tactical level involving artillery shells. Given the potential for transferring AI/ML technology via intangible means, it is crucial to monitor North Korea’s activities and implement measures to mitigate potential sanctions risks within the academic and private sectors.

In summary, North Korea’s interest in Fourth Industrial Revolution technology such as artificial intelligence highlights its efforts to explore new ways to expand its applications in various fields such as agriculture and education while also considering potential military implications.

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