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SEOUL: Mark Zuckerberg (center), head of US tech giant Meta, arrives at the underground parking lot of LG Twin Tower during his visit to South Korea on the second leg of his Asia trip in Seoul on Feb 28, 2024. -- AFP
SEOUL: Mark Zuckerberg (center), head of US tech giant Meta, arrives at the underground parking lot of LG Twin Tower during his visit to South Korea on the second leg of his Asia trip in Seoul on Feb 28, 2024. -- AFP
Zuckerberg discusses AI risks with Japan PM during Asia tour

TOKYO: Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg met Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a visit to Japan, discussing the risks of generative AI, a government spokesman said Wednesday. Zuckerberg is on a mini-tour of Asia that includes stops in Japan, India and South Korea, where he travelled on Tuesday night.

The 39-year-old mixed business with pleasure while in Japan, going skiing with his family and learning about sword-making from a master craftsman. Zuckerberg and Kishida met on Tuesday and “discussed a broad range of topics including the status of AI’s technological advancement... (and) the risk surrounding generative AI”, top Japanese government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters on Wednesday.

Japanese media quoted Zuckerberg as saying: “We had a good, productive conversation about AI and the future of technology.” “I’m really excited for the work that is happening here in Japan,” he said after the 30-minute meeting. Spearheaded by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, generative artificial intelligence is a technology that can conjure up text, images and audio from simple prompts in just seconds.

Its rapid development has been heralded as potentially revolutionary for everything from video games to politics—but with negative as well as positive consequences. Meta was one of 20 major tech firms, including OpenAI, to sign a pledge this month to crack down on AI content intended to deceive voters ahead of crucial elections around the world this year.

Tech groups had previously agreed to use a common watermarking standard that would tag images generated by AI applications such as ChatGPT, Meta’s Llama, Microsoft’s Copilot and Google’s Gemini.

Zuckerberg arrived in Seoul on a private flight on Tuesday night for the second leg of his Asia trip and is expected to meet South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, local media reported.

“We are coordinating with Meta to arrange a meeting,” a spokesperson for Yoon’s office told AFP on Wednesday. Zuckerberg met the CEO of consumer tech giant LG Electronics to discuss extended reality (XR) projects, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

Meta is collaborating with LG to develop a premium headset that will compete with Apple’s Vision Pro, the Korea Economic Daily reported. The Meta boss also met Lee Jae-yong, the head of Samsung Electronics—one of the world’s biggest producers of smartphones and computer chips—to explore potential collaborations in AI memory chips and XR businesses, Yonhap reported.

Samsung is among the few companies worldwide that manufacture premium high bandwidth memory (HBM) chips tailored for AI processors. Yonhap said Zuckerberg also met representatives from at least five AI and XR startups at Meta’s Seoul office. The agency said he will leave for India on Thursday.

Zuckerberg will attend the lavish March 1-3 pre-wedding celebrations of the son of Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Indian oil-to-telecoms giant Reliance, reports said. Meta, Google and others have invested billions of dollars in Reliance’s digital unit Jio Platforms as it seeks to take on Amazon and Walmart in India’s vast e-commerce market. – AFP

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