North Korea’s generative AI

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North Korea has been actively developing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies, despite international sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons program. The country's AI development efforts span across government, academia, and industry sectors. North Korea established the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute in 2013, and in recent years, several companies have promoted commercial products featuring AI. The country's AI/ML development signifies a strategic investment to bolster its economy and operational capabilities. North Korean researchers have applied AI/ML for sensitive applications, such as wargaming and surveillance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea used AI to create a model for evaluating proper mask usage. North Korean scientists have also published research into using AI for maintaining the safety of nuclear reactors. Seoul's spy agency detected signs that North Korean hackers had used generative AI to search for targets and seek technologies needed for hacking, although they have yet to use it in actual cyberattacks. Given that AI/ML is a software-centric technology that can be transferred via intangible means, it is important to monitor such activities. Some of North Korea's AI researchers have collaborated with foreign scholars, including in China, raising concerns for the sanctions regime. The development of AI in North Korea presents many challenges, including the potential misuse of the technology for weaponization.
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