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North Korea claims it has developed AI-powered face recognition

By Elizabeth Shim   |   Nov. 7, 2019 at 11:34 AM
North Korea is enhancing facial recognition technology with artificial intelligence, according to state media. File Photo by Carsten Koall/EPA

Nov. 7 (UPI) -- North Korean scientists at Kim Il Sung University's new high-tech center have developed facial recognition technology that uses artificial intelligence, state media claimed Thursday.

Propaganda service Arirang Meari said the new "face recognition system" is called "Dambo." The device is capable of identifying people by their faces "automatically," and can be used in tracking their entries and exits, state media said.

The device "is faster and more accurate than other products," and can be installed in dark places because it comes with a white LED that can illuminate faces in spaces with less light, Meari stated.

In January, Pyongyang claimed facial recognition systems were being deployed at its international airport, and that the technology was being used in "state institutions," including hospitals, stores and other public places. The regime did not mention the involvement of artificial intelligence earlier this year.

North Korea has pursued the development of science education under Kim Jong Un, whose strategy to "revolutionize" science and technology in the regime was made public at the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers' Party in April 2018.

In 2018, North Korea's Rodong Sinmun said the tech center mentioned Thursday would "develop Kim Il Sung University into a first-class university and fulfill its mission as a new technology dissemination base, which will greatly contribute to the development of science education at universities and toward the establishment of state-of-the-art technology industries."

Pyongyang is also promoting North Korea's pursuit of nanotechnology.

State-controlled news agency KCNA reported this week 70 types of nanotech products were on display at a North Korean nanotech exhibition in 2019.

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