N. Korean media highlight high-tech achievemen…

North Korea’s media outlets are repeatedly playing up the importance of information and communications technology (ICT) apparently as part of an effort to attain economic development.

DPRK Today, a propaganda website run by the Pyongyang regime, said in an article Wednesday that a laboratory affiliated with the North’s most prestigious university has developed a number of advanced artificial intelligence programs and systems.

The article said that the IT Institute of the Latest Science Institute of Kim Il Sung University has been chosen as one of the North’s 10 best ICT enterprises of 2018.

A Korean language voice recognition program and a Korean language document recognition program, both developed by the Kim Il Sung University institute, have been certified as the best artificial intelligence technology products, it noted.

The institute has also developed an integrated search system based on the North’s internal network within six months, making it possible to quickly and accurately search for information stored on hundreds of websites, the article said.

The Pyongyang-based institute is now in the process of developing a simultaneous interpretation program, a free conversation software combining voice and character recognition technologies, and a program capable of recognizing any handwriting, it said.

According to a recent report of the Rodong Sinmun, the 29th National Exhibition of IT Achievements that opened at the Sci-Tech Complex in the North’s capital on Nov. 7 featured a voice-controlled smart home system and other advanced information technology devices developed by the Kim Il Sung University institute.

The mouthpiece of the North’s ruling party argued that an intelligent speaker is capable of recognizing human voice to automatically control household devices, including fans, air conditioners, televisions and lights.

Watchers say that North Korea appears to be actively coping with the latest global trends in the IT sector under North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s campaign for economic development.

“Well aware that the introduction of high value-added industries would speed up economic development, the North appears to have embarked on its own fourth industrial revolution. It seeks to maximize productivity by elevating the level of automation through the integration of ICT,” said Lim Eul-chul, a professor at Kyungnam University.

“What is important is the commercialization of indigenously developed technologies. With only the domestic market available, the North appears to be preparing for a market opening and reform after denuclearization and sanctions relief.”

– Yonhap News Agency