Why North Korea’s AI Development Raises Concerns


  • North Korea is actively developing AI and machine learning.
  • Some AI experts in the country have been collaborating with foreign scholars, including China.
  • North Korea’s pursuit of AI, including wargaming simulations, raises concerns.

North Korea is quietly pursuing developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning for purposes that reportedly extend beyond domestic concerns. 

Inside North Korea’s Controversial AI Pursuit

New study found that the country, long isolated by international sanctions, has been actively pursuing AI developments to bolster its economy despite limited access to resources. It added that some of North Korea’s AI researchers have been collaborating with scholars from other regions, including China.

“North Korea’s recent endeavors in AI/ML development signify a strategic investment to bolster its digital economy,” says the study author, Hyuk Kim of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) in California.

North Korea has had an Artificial Intelligence Research Institute since 2013, according to the report. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the country used AI technology to create for evaluate proper mask usage and prioritising clinical symptom indicators of infection. 

North Korea’s AI Ambitions Extend Beyond Domestic Concerns

While North Korea’s pursuit of a carries potential benefits, it also casts a shadow of uncertainty and potential threats. The study also found that the country is equally pursuing a wargaming simulation program, which somewhat points to a potential focus on developing AI for military purposes.

“North Korea’s pursuit of a wargaming simulation program using (machine learning) reveals intentions to better comprehend operational environments against potential adversaries,” Kim wrote. “Furthermore, North Korea’s ongoing collaborations with foreign scholars pose concerns for the sanctions regime.”

On January 24th, South Korea’s state intelligence agency also detected signs that North Korea is using AI technology to search for potential targets for their hacking attacks, though they haven’t used the technology in an actual cyber attack.

“Recently, it has been confirmed that North Korean hackers use generative AI to search for hacking targets and search for technologies needed for hacking,” a senior official at the National Intelligence Service (NIS) told Yonhap News Agency.

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Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam is an optimistic crypto journalist. Five years from now, he sees himself establishing a unique crypto media outlet that will breach the gap between the crypto world and the general public. He loves to associate with like-minded individuals and collaborate with them on similar projects. He spends much of his time honing his writing and critical thinking skills.

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