Samsung has taken some criticism recently after widespread reports that its camera software is faking zoom photos of the moon, but things may be about to get much more troubling. a Forget reader wrote Wednesday to tell us that the company’s software is add teeth to photos of their seven-month-old daughter.
This reader says they recently got an S23 Ultra and decided to try out the Remaster feature in Samsung’s photo viewing app, Gallery. (It’s the default photo app for the phone, and the feature is available in the camera when you visit your photo album.)
They expected something like what Google Photos does, suggesting specific adjustments and filters, blurring photos, and the like. Instead, they got the results you can see below, with the original image on the left and the “Remastered” on the right.
So… this is fuel for a nightmare. Sure, it erases some ugly snot (the world can’t think 100 percent of the time that this baby isn’t ready for his close-up), but it also seems to look at the baby’s tongue and immediately go “I know how that should look like: a nice row of fully grown teeth!”
The reader also sent us a video of the Remaster feature turning their daughter’s tongue into teeth another photo, which makes it seem like it’s not just a one-time glitch.
I couldn’t reproduce these teething problems myself, using the same version of the Gallery app on a regular S22. I’ve tried remastering half a dozen photos of babies (and even a screenshot of the updated, less finicky Sonic trailer ) and never seen anything like what this user got. I also haven’t been able to find any other people reporting this kind of problem, so it’s impossible to say for sure what’s going on.
We’ve reached out to Samsung for comment, but didn’t get an immediate response.
So says the Samsung website the Remastering feature “automatically removes shadows and reflections to make your photos look great.” Unlike Samsung’s explanation of the Scene Optimizer feature that added details to the moon, Samsung’s description of the Remaster feature doesn’t even include hand-waving about “AI” or “deep-learning.” It doesn’t even really sound like the beautification filters we have seen on phones for years, with teeth whitening filters potentially failing in such a disturbing way. Based on what Samsung wrote, I’d actually expect it to just adjust my exposure settings, similar to Google Photos’ “Enhance” feature.
So where do the teeth come from?
The reader described the resulting photo as “much more disturbing than a counterfeit moon photo if you ask me,” and I somewhat agree – the altered moon photos just look like slightly better photos of the moon, when this is the epitome of the disturbing teeth tweet.
However, I will say there is a difference in context here. The moon falsification happens automatically in the camera app if you have enabled a certain feature. Here you still have to explicitly ask for a remaster (which you can throw away, leaving the original intact). The moon story sparked discussions about what exactly it means to take a picture, when this is mostly just a story about an editing function taking a far too aggressive bite. If Samsung used AI to startle babies or give their teeth straight from the camera, we’d be having a completely different conversation here, but for now that’s not what’s happening. But I still hate looking at it.