Watches, Stories, & Gear: The Gila Wilderness Turns 100, a Photographer Strikes Back Against AI, and Tim Cook Sits Down with Marques Brownlee

“Watches, Stories, and Gear” is a roundup of our favorite content, watch or otherwise, from around the internet. Here, we support other creators, explore interesting content that inspires us, and put a spotlight on causes we believe in. Oh, and any gear we happen to be digging on this week. We love gear.

Share your story ideas or interesting finds with us by emailing [email protected]

Study Points to Elephants Using Names in the Wild

They say an elephant never forgets, and if a new study published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution has any merit, it’s possible that among the things they remember are individual names of other elephants. Scientists used artificial intelligence to analyze hundreds of vocalizations made by elephants, and found that elephants use highly specific calls to reach specific members of a group. It’s a fascinating idea to consider that humans might not be the only creatures that name one another, and a powerful example of what AI tools can accomplish. Read all about it in the New York Times right here.

A Real Photograph Won an AI Photography Competition 

With the rise in easy to use AI modeling software, artists in all disciplines have wondered aloud how this might impact their craft and their livelihood. A huge concern is that AI generated art could simply replace art created by human beings. Will the world need photographers, screenwriters, and painters a generation from now? Well, one photographer, in a very clever way, recently showed that AI hasn’t quite caught up to human creativity just yet. As PetaPixel reports, Miles Astray recently entered his evocative and surreal image of a flamingo in a photography competition. His photo, which is real, was entered in an AI category. Once Astray was found out, his photo was stripped of its prize, but his point was made. “I wanted to show that nature can still beat the machine and that there is still merit in real work from real creatives,” said Astray to PetaPixel. Read more here.

AI vs. the Spelling Bee 

So if AI images can’t beat a real photograph in a competition, surely AI can help us cheat at word games, right? This really seems like the thing that the technology was invented for. But as Engadget writer Pranav Dixit found out recently, AI chatbots were not a guarantee of victory in the popular New York Times game, Spelling Bee. As Dixit details in this piece, the AI tool was oftentimes hilariously wrong, illustrating some of the obvious shortcomings these tools still have. 

Marques Brownlee Sits Down with Tim Cook 


This week marked the annual WWDC conference, an annual meeting for Apple developers and an opportunity for the giant tech company to show the public what they’re working on. Unsurprisingly, this year focused on new AI tools (or “Apple Intelligence,” in the brand’s lexicon) that promise to help users be more productive across the Apple ecosystem. Apple has been somewhat slow to adopt generative AI, even as they’ve heavily on machine learning concepts for years. Marques Brownlee sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook at this year’s WWDC to talk about all of the new tech Apple is showing off and preparing, and how they’re positioned as AI seems set to dominate the tech conversation (and, apparently, this edition of WSG) for years to come. 

One Hundred Years of the Gila Wilderness 

The Gila Wilderness preserve in New Mexico turns 100 this year. It was this country’s first such preserve, and remains an enormous swatch of unspoiled land, with no buildings, roads, or signs of modern life of any kind. This lengthy piece in the New York Times chronicles the recent and ancient history of the Gila region, and details some of the highlights for wilderness lovers who seek to experience it. If you’ve never been, the photography alone will likely make you want to book a trip. 

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