SEOUL, Oct. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — A new report has claimed North Korea’s artificial intelligence technology has reached a breaking point as a result of the country’s poor economic standing and sanctions by the international community, despite having made ‘significant’ technological advances in the past.
According to the report released by researcher Kim Min-gwan at the Korea Development Bank on Tuesday, North Korea has been developing artificial intelligence technology at its software research institute Korea Computer Center since the 1990s.
In 2015, a major reshuffle took plan within government organizations to encourage each department to dedicate more time and focus to AI technology used in various fields including gaming, mathematics, education and fingerprint and face recognition, the report said.
Among the best AI-based software to come out of North Korea is Go game software ‘Eunbyeol’ as well as voice recognition software ‘Ryongnamsan’.
‘Eunbyeol’ is an AI-based Go game software invented by Korea Computer Center back in 1997, which had been deemed impressive until around 2010, winning a number of times at the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s international computer Go tournament.
However, with the lack of large-scare hardware infrastructure to support deep-learning technology, North Korea began to fall behind others in the field of AI-based Go software.
Eunbyeol 2010, which is the latest version of the software, is operated through 16 CPUs, while Google’s AlphaGo was run on 1,920 CPUs and 280 GPUs during its match against South Korean Go player Lee Se-dol last March.
North Korea also adopted AI technology in its software ‘Ryongnamsan’. However, unlike other AI assistants in recent years, including Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, poor specifications of the hardware used for the program saw the country fail to achieve AI features.
The report also argued North Korea’s capability to conduct research and development into AI technology is compromised due to economic sanctions imposed on the country.
Lately, artificial intelligence technology has been developed with a focus on securing large-scale arithmetic units which help improve the self-learning capability of AI systems by inputting vast amounts of data.
Under economic and financial burdens however, North Korea is having a hard time providing funding for hardware investment, which is crucial in keeping up with its competitors in the industry.
“North Korea’s capability for development is at a breaking point as the country is struggling with issues such as a lack of investment and advanced technology, the report said.