Samsung Argues That There is ‘No Such Thing as a Real Picture’

Samsung charging for Galaxy AI in S24 smartphones

In a recent interview with Samsung regarding its push into generative AI, the South Korean company took a strong and, likely, polarizing stance: there is no such thing as a real picture.

While arguing that not only are Samsung’s new AI photo editing features necessary but also that they are “ethical,” Samsung’s Head of Customer Experience Patrick Chomet took it a step further and argued to TechRadar that no photo is really “real” anyway.

“There was a very nice video by Marques Brownlee last year on the moon picture,” he starts, referencing last year’s debacle where some users accused Samsung that its smartphones were not actually capturing the moon, but overlaying a filter to make it look like they were. Samsung denied the accusation that it was overlaying a previously existing image onto images of the Moon.

Samsung S24 Ultra launch event
A photo from January’s Samsung’s Galaxy S24 launch event.

“Everyone was like, ‘Is it fake? Is it not fake?’ There was a debate around what constitutes a real picture. And actually, there is no such thing as a real picture. As soon as you have sensors to capture something, you reproduce [what you’re seeing], and it doesn’t mean anything. There is no real picture. You can try to define a real picture by saying, ‘I took that picture’, but if you used AI to optimize the zoom, the autofocus, the scene — is it real? Or is it all filters? There is no real picture, full stop.”

Lumping in any type of digital assistance with photo capture with all types of AI is certainly a bold stance, but Chomet says this while at the same time arguing that authenticity still matters. It’s a bit of a confusing stance, but the Samsung executive clarifies himself.

“Questions around authenticity are very important and we [Samsung] go about this by recognizing two consumer needs; two different customer intentions. Neither of them are new, but generative AI will accelerate one of them. One intention is wanting to capture the moment — wanting to take a picture that’s as accurate and complete as possible. To do that, we use a lot of AI filtering, modification, and optimization to erase shadows, reflections, and so on. But we are true to the user’s intention, which was to capture that moment.”

The second intention he speaks of is the desire to make something whether or not it represents a “real” moment. Samsung wants to cater to both. Chomet goes on to say that he believes AI needs to be regulated as it is possible to use it for good and bad.