The Korea Herald


Yoon, Zuckerberg discuss AI, digital ecosystem in Seoul

Yoon asks Meta CEO to pay special attention to AI-powered spread of fake news

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Feb. 29, 2024 - 15:02

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President Yoon Suk Yeol (right) meets with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the presidential office in Seoul on Thursday. (Presidential Office) President Yoon Suk Yeol (right) meets with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the presidential office in Seoul on Thursday. (Presidential Office)

President Yoon Suk Yeol met with Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, formerly Facebook, on Thursday to discuss ways to enhance cooperation in cutting-edge technologies, especially artificial intelligence, upon the US tech giant’s request.

The presidential office confirmed that Yoon and Zuckerberg met at the presidential office in Yongsan-gu earlier in the day. During the 30-minute meeting, they shared visions for creating an AI digital ecosystem and ways to strengthen cooperation between Meta and Korean firms, as well as the need for Meta to play an active role as a global platform for creating a "trustworthy digital society," in the words of the presidential office.

Sung Tae-yoon, presidential chief of staff for policy, told reporters the president stressed to the US tech giant chief that Korea could be an “excellent platform” for applying Meta’s AI, since it has a diverse portfolio of smart home appliances, wearable devices and smart cars that are recognized for their high technology and quality globally.

“As AI competition has intensified in the global market and global big tech companies are putting their lives at risk to secure AI semiconductors, the president asked (Zuckerberg) to cooperate closely with Korean companies that are among the world's most competitive, including the world’s No. 1 and 2 players in memory that is essential for AI systems,” Sung said.

Yoon also expressed his intention to actively support cooperation between Korean companies and the US at the government level, if necessary, saying that a close supply chain cooperation system has been established between the two countries' governments.

Regarding the US tech giant’s metaverse push, the president expressed hope in cooperation on research and development and talent training to create a metaverse ecosystem, while mentioning that Korea is also continuing to provide support to foster the metaverse industry as it creates new added value beyond constraints of time and space.

“The president said a great synergy would be created if Meta cooperated with Korean companies with strengths in the extended reality headsets sector, which is emerging as an important hardware platform for the metaverse. … He also said that the Korean industry is ready to actively support what Meta has imagined and designed,” Sung said.

Talking about the increasing volume of fake news and false propaganda using AI, a serious problem that threatens liberal democracy, Yoon asked the tech mogul to pay special attention to the issue so as to monitor and take action. In response, Zuckerberg said that Meta is making active efforts to prevent election fraud and is open to collaborating with Korea's National Election Commission to stop the spread of fake information, according to the presidential office.

Additionally, the Meta founder reportedly pointed out Samsung Electronics’ global competitiveness in the foundry business raises the importance of its partnership with the Korean tech giant, according to another official at the presidential office.

“(The president said) Regarding investment near Seoul to create an ecosystem for investment in Samsung Electronics' AI semiconductors and system semiconductors, government support is already being provided for areas in which Samsung can invest,” Sung added.

Thursday’s meeting marks the second time that Zuckerberg has met a Korean president here. He had a meeting with former President Park Geun-hye during his first official visit to the country in 2013. He arrived in Seoul on Tuesday for a three-day visit as part of an Asia tour.

On Wednesday, Zuckerberg met with business leaders here, including Samsung Electronics Chair Lee Jae-yong and LG Electronics CEO Cho Joo-wan, separately, to discuss ways to expand cooperation in cutting-edge technologies, according to each company.

The Meta CEO met with the Samsung chief in the evening for dinner at the Seungjiwon in Hannam-dong, central Seoul, potentially to discuss collaboration in AI chip development and XR business. The two leaders officially met in Korea in 2013 and 2014. Samsung's Seungjiwon was used as the office of Lee Kun-hee, the late chairman and father of Lee Jae-yong.

Earlier in the day, Zuckerberg also had a luncheon with the LG chief at the tech giant’s headquarters in western Seoul for the first time in person. They talked about the joint development of a mixed reality device and generative AI business cooperation. Cho hinted that their first collaboration device will likely come out in 2025.