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"Whose Land is Dokdo?" Controversy Over Different Answers: Apple and Google
  • By Seo Ji-min, cub-reporter
  • 승인 2022.09.18 23:45
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▲It is an image that captures Apple Maps, excluding the "Dokdo" mark (Source: JoongAng Ilbo)

On August 5, Apple's artificial intelligence and iPhone's voice assistant service "Siri" caused controversy by giving a false answer to the question, "Whose land is Dokdo?" Siri guided users to an unprofessional site called, "13 Reasons Why Dokdo Is Not Korean Land." The, "13 Reasons Why Dokdo Is Not Korean Land," site provided by Siri, is a post from the source of the Open Encyclopedia, "Namuwiki." If you click on the post, you can find content that advocates Japan's position on the Dokdo issue.

In response to the incident, the private cyber diplomatic mission "VANK" said it would send a letter of protest asking Apple to correct information related to Dokdo, as official data of the South Korean Foreign Ministry. Park Ki-tae, head of VANK, pointed out, "It is a large problem for Apple to inform Korea of major information such as Dokdo as an unprofessional claim posted in the Open Encyclopedia about 20 years ago," and strongly criticized, "Apple, which has strong information dissemination power, is making a mess of Korean territory by not checking the facts."

VANK has claimed that Dokdo is incorrectly marked on Apple Maps as well as Siri. When searching for the location of Dokdo by running the iPhone map application, if the language is set to "Korean," it is displayed as "Dokdo," while if the language is set to "Japanese," it is displayed as "Takeshima," which is the name of Dokdo as claimed by Japan. In response, VANK said, "Although Dokdo is clearly Korean territory, it is a clear mistake for Apple to label Dokdo differently, depending on the designated language," and, "We have sent a letter of complaint to Apple asking them to fix the issue, and we will also launch a campaign to correct the information." Earlier on August 10, VANK also found information on the map when asking Siri, which introduced, "Korea," as "Japanese Imperial Shipbuilding on the Korean Peninsula," and requested correction: Apple immediately corrected it.

Not only Apple but also Google Maps has been embroiled in controversy over listing information related to "Dokdo." On August 28, Seo Kyung-deok, a professor at Sungshin Women's University, said that Dokdo is recorded as, "Liancourt Rocks," when searched on Google Maps in 26 countries after collecting reports from netizens around the world. "Liancourt Reef" is named after the French ship "Liancourt," which discovered Dokdo in 1849, and seems to be a means to avoid getting involved in disputes between Korea and Japan. "Dokdo" was marked with the correct name only in Korea, and "no result" or "Takeshima" was marked in Google Maps when searched in Japan. Professor Seo Kyung-deok explained, "We also conducted a survey on 'Dokdo.' 'The East Sea' was written as 'Sea of Japan' in parentheses when the screen was enlarged," adding, "It is a serious problem that the Korean territory of "Dokdo" is mislabeled as "Liancourt Reef" and "Takeshima" on Google Maps, the most commonly used map app. For the past three years, I have protested to Google to change how "Dokdo" is labeled from "Liancourt Rocks" to "Dokdo," but it has not been modified yet. In order to correct this, the public and private sectors must work together."

Apple's artificial intelligence "Siri" and Google's map application "Google Maps" are poignant services that people around the world continue to use. As both services have a strong ripple effect, the national impact will be great if distorted information is written. Therefore, in order to provide more accurate information, it is necessary to introduce a method of cross-verifying and marking public-reliable data.

By Seo Ji-min, cub-reporter  jmseo1215@naver.com

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