Samsung EVP Defends Galaxy S24’s AI Photo-Editing, Says ‘There Is No Real Picture’

Samsung at this year’s unpacked event unveiled its newest AI-powered camera editing capability which debuted in its latest Galaxy S24 lineup. The Generative Edit feature will allow users to not only just artificially edit, but also reconstruct, and remaster parts of images, with the aim of achieving photographic perfection seamlessly within the native camera app. However, following this announcement, some concerns reignited around the authenticity and ethics of AI-manipulated photography.

Although image editing is a well-established concept, Samsung’s utilisation of generative AI raises eyebrows because of its advanced editing capabilities seamlessly integrated into the smartphone experience. The apparent realism of these AI-generated edits has raised concerns among some critics.

Samsung EVP On AI In Camera

Samsung EVP Patrick Chomet in a TechRadar addressed these concerns head-on and contended that the very notion of a ‘real’ photo is illusory in the modern age. He said, “There was a very nice video by Marques Brownlee last year on the moon picture. Everyone was like, ‘Is it fake? Is it not fake?’ There was a debate about 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 optimise the zoom, the autofocus, the scene – is it real? Or is it all filters?”

He concluded by saying, “There is no real picture, full stop.”

Chomet also indicated that Samsung intends to offer two distinct experiences – one focused on “capturing the moment” with accuracy and completeness, and the other on transforming it to shape a “new reality.” For capturing the moment, Samsung employs AI filtering, modifications, and optimisations to eliminate shadows and reflections.

Although some photographers may object to his rejection of photorealism, Chomet makes a compelling argument about the inherent artificiality of photography in the computational era. Nonetheless, he acknowledged the necessity for government regulation of AI technology, affirming Samsung’s intention to collaborate with authorities.