The Morning After: Let’s talk about air quality

Plus, AI for personal blogging and Apple’s refusal to say AI.


Wildfires in Canada have led to a surge in air pollution levels in the US, with New York currently having the worst air quality of any major city. There are plenty of images of N95-mask-wearing people walking down smog-blighted streets that wouldn’t look out of place in many a dystopia. Many states and cities have urged folks to stay inside unless they absolutely need to leave, and they’re pumping out as much Air Quality Index data as they can.

But do you actually know what the Air Quality Index is, or what it’s for? We’ve done an AQI deep dive, exploring how it works and how you can keep yourself informed and safe.

And, on the subject of being safe, we’ve also knocked up a guide for how to make a quick-and-dirty box fan air filter. All you’ll need is a box fan, some AC air filters and some duct tape, and you’ll be able to screen out a lot more of the bad air floating around your home in the next few weeks.

– Dan Cooper

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Where was all the AI at WWDC?

It’s one buzzword you’ll rarely hear an Apple executive say.

A pair of Vision Pro headsets on display at WWDC 2023.
Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

Apple has always been one to eschew the buzzword of the day in favor of coining its own terms or, like at this week’s WWDC, just not talking about it at all. After analyzing Apple’s big keynote, we found “AI” was never mentioned, despite its obvious prevalence in so many of its products. Instead, the company prefers more accurate terms like “machine learning,” or talking about how its models are trained on thousands of people.

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Samsung will focus on foldables in its upcoming July Unpacked event

The writing’s been on the wall for a while.

I don’t think it’s unfair to say Samsung’s king of the folding-phone hill right now, despite the number of rival companies in the space. The winds of change have hinted for a long while now that the Korean giant would put greater emphasis on its premium foldables as time went on. At its next big Unpacked event, scheduled for late July in its hometown of Seoul, Samsung has let slip it’ll be a foldables-heavy show, maybe to the exclusion of all other categories.

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Wordpress' Jetpack AI will write your blog posts for you

Sadly, no AI has yet been invented that will bother to read those posts.

Wordpress, which enabled countless people to find their voice online, is now offering an AI to write your blog posts for you. You’ll be able to type in a prompt and let the system churn out hollow but professional-sounding content for people to think about reading. Wordpress says Jetpack AI will even be able to switch the tone of its posts from informative to funny or sarcastic with the touch of a button. It won’t be long and maybe someone can cook up a bot that’ll even live your life for you, making humanity an entirely redundant part of the system.

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The following article discusses matters of a sensitive nature.

Meta vows to take action after report found Instagram’s algorithm promoted pedophilia content

It’s yet another wake-up call for the company.

Researchers from Stanford and UMass have found a vast network of CSAM accounts in the darkest corners of Instagram. It’s the latest in a series of controversies about the power of the algorithms Meta’s companies use to connect people, as well as its inconsistent moderation. Meta has pledged to launch an internal taskforce which will address the researcher’s findings. But Facebook’s former chief security officer Alex Stamos was damning in his indictment, saying that if “three academics with limited access could find such a huge network, [it] should set off alarms at Meta.”

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