July 31 (UPI) -- North Korea could be ramping up research and development in the area of artificial intelligence, according to South Korean news service NK Economy.
A source with access to a state-controlled periodical, Kumsukangsan, said the magazine reported in its August issue the institute of intelligence technology at the college of information sciences at Kim Il Sung University is developing new projects in the science of voice recognition, translation, AI-driven document analysis and management information systems.
The institute comprises a staff of researchers in their 20s. Their tasks include analyzing AI research conducted in other countries, then applying their findings that would suit the North Korean environment, according to Kumsukangsan.
The magazine quoted the director of the institute, Choe Chol, who said North Korea should rely on domestic talent to self-develop AI. Choe also said North Korea's AI project should reach "world-class" levels and as soon as possible.
The North Korean researchers have developed a Korean language speech-recognition program and a Korean character or letter recognition program that can be used to construct a database of information, state media said.
North Koreans are also using translation software to quickly master documents written in English, Chinese and German, according to NK Economy. Papers covering mathematics, physics, chemistry, economics and history are being translated using the software.
The report comes at a time when North Korea's state media is connecting the sciences to direct ordinances from leader Kim Jong Un.
Korean Workers' Party paper Rodong Sinmun stated Wednesday the country cannot move forward without science and technology and that Kim had the "extraordinary foresight" to develop science talent in the country.
The paper also suggested progress means more needs to be done to reach state goals.
"National science and technology talent development is not realized automatically with new buildings and placing a couple computers here and there, then connecting to the national intranet," the Rodong said.