When the (fake) moon hits your eye

In the biggest moon-related conspiracy since “NASA faked the moon landing,” one Reddit user claims that Samsung is faking its moon photos. 

Driving the news: Samsung’s Space Zoom feature for its smartphones—praised for its ability to take photos of the moon that aren’t just blurry white dots—has come under heavy scrutiny after a Reddit post alleged that photos taken with it are fake and enhanced with AI.

User ibreakphotos posted an experiment where they downloaded a photo of the moon and blurred it enough to obscure all the details. They then took a photo of their monitor showing the blurred image using Space Zoom, which added details that weren’t visible.

  • They concluded Space Zoom likely uses AI trained on a database of moon images to recover lost details (or add them) and accused Samsung of deceptive marketing as the company claims the feature uses no image overlaying or texture effects. 

Samsung has faced similar accusations in the past and released a statement responding to the claims that (kinda vaguely) explained the technology behind Space Zoom.

Why it matters: While Samsung’s alleged fakery is particularly egregious, taking a “real” photo on a smartphone isn’t really a thing. Whether you use an Android, iPhone, or whatever, your phone camera uses AI or machine learning trickery to alter your photos.

  • If you switch off every optimizing feature, there are still processes running to brighten your photos and make certain details pop, simply because it makes them look better.

Bottom line: As generative AI rapidly improves in consumer tech (hey there, TikTok’s Bold Glamour filter), your pics are going to look better and better, but at the expense of reality.—QH