Highlights From Desert X 2019

At Desert X, a series of outdoor exhibitions in the Coachella Valley, this year’s artwork addresses timely and poignant issues—from the depleting Salton Sea, indigenous peoples’ rights and the political battle at the US-Mexico border. These striking pieces turn sparse land into places for reflection, debate and hope—across more than 50 miles. From Sterling Ruby’s SPECTER to Pia Camil’s Lover’s Rainbow, Artsy staff has picked some of the highlights. …

Efforts Underway to Stop Robocalls

With estimated robocalls at 167.3 million per day in the US, many Americans simply ignore unknown numbers or “Scam Likely” calls. This doesn’t assuage the anxiety of missing something important or the sense of violation. Two programs—STIR (Secure Telephone Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs)—aim to verify callers. Right now, they’re only deploying on T-Mobile but the FCC strongly believes more carriers …

Google Translate Employs Decades-Old Language Theory

Google Translate uses complex neural and numeric systems to find equivalencies in speech and text across languages. The tool is seemingly simple—at least for users. But on the backend, developers worked tirelessly to get the application to where it is now. One fascinating breakthrough came when Google employees applied Wittgenstein’s language theory: a posthumously published theory that words hold no supreme meaning and that meaning …