Aarti Shahani

Aarti Shahani is a Tech Reporter on NPR's Business Desk. Based in Silicon Valley, it's her job to cover the biggest companies on earth. In her reporting, she works to pinpoint how economies and human relationships are being radically redefined by the tech sector.

Shahani has an unconventional path. Journalism is her second career. Before it, she was a community organizer in her native New York City, helping prisoners and families being deported from the U.S. She loves learning from brilliant, intense people — be they the engineers who are building self-driving cars, or the jailhouse lawyers filing laser-sharp habeas petitions.

Shahani received a Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, with generous support from the University and the Paul & Daisy Soros fellowship. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago. Her reporting has been honored with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, and an Investigative Reporters & Editors Award.

She finds Northern California to be a beautiful and jarring place — and she hopes one day to understand its many contradictions.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Now it's time for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF ULRICH SCHNAUSS' "NOTHING HAPPENS IN JUNE")

Facebook is rolling out a major change to its News Feed: pushing up news articles that come from "high quality" sources, and pushing down the others. The move signals that, in an effort to combat the problem of fake news, the social media giant is willing to play a kind of editorial role — making decisions based on substance, not just how viral a headline may be.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post to his Facebook page:

It was the summer of 2016, and M was worried her ex-husband was stalking her. She would get out of town and stay with friends. But, as she noted in court documents, her ex seemed to know exactly where she was and whom she visited — down to the time of day and street.

M started to change the way she drove — slowing down, driving in circles — in case a private investigator was following her. She didn't see one. Then she went online and learned about GPS trackers — small devices you can slip into a car to monitor where it goes 24/7. She looked for one and couldn't find any.

Lyft is unveiling a new education program for drivers, offering access to discounted GED and college courses online. The move is an interesting experiment in the gig economy, where a growing class of workers receive zero benefits from a boss and yet competition for their time is fierce.

Many Lyft drivers see their work for the company as a stopgap measure, a flexible way to make money while they try to build a career.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Tucked away in the House and Senate tax bills is a big break for companies that have stockpiled money overseas. The hope is that bringing that cash back to the U.S. will lead to more jobs here. NPR's Aarti Shahani reports.

Ben Jealous slips into the driver's seat. It's a tight fit (he's a towering 6 feet, 4 inches with broad shoulders) and he takes off his blazer in the most peculiar of ways: by grabbing the collar and pulling it over his head, as though it were a sweater.

"I gotta move quickly," he says.

That could be the tag line for his life. Just 44 years old, Jealous has already racked up quite a few distinctions.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Tonight at the Latin Grammys, the hit song "Despacito" is up for four awards, including record of the year. Clearly a lot of people know this song. But it turns out the Google Home personal assistant does not. NPR's Aarti Shahani explains.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

In July 2016, the aftermath of a police shooting of an African-American man was broadcast live on Facebook. Instantly, Americans of all stripes used the platform to step up the race wars and attack each other.

Facebook says 126 million people may have seen Russian content aimed at influencing Americans. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to weed out Russian operatives and extremist propaganda from Facebook.

But savvy marketers — people who've used Facebook's advertising platform since its inception — say that social media giant will find it hard to banish nefarious actors because its technology is designed to be wide open and simple to use.

Satya Nadella's new book is called Hit Refresh (like when you reload a webpage). And in it, the CEO of Microsoft doesn't focus on the remarkable story of his climb from middle-class kid in India to head of an American tech giant. Instead, he explores at length a feeling he's working to cultivate in himself: empathy.

It doesn't come as a surprise to people that big names like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are among the five or 10 most valuable companies on earth. But the fact that Microsoft is also on that shortlist surprises people.

A massive shift happened, quietly, during the Obama years: Democrats got comfortable and gave up their lead in digital campaigning, Democratic and Republican political operatives say.

Republicans, meanwhile, itched to regain power and invested heavily in using the Internet to build political support.

Now, liberals in Silicon Valley want to shift the balance of power.

America's business leaders are speaking out against President Trump's move to end DACA.

The president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, took a notable stand. He said not only will his company lobby for a legislative solution but also that Microsoft is calling on Congress to make immigration the top priority, before tax reform. And he is calling on other business leaders to follow suit.

Regina Bateson doesn't look like a gambler, but that's what she's become — in the world of politics.

She just left her tenure-track job at MIT to run for Congress back home, in Northern California. She's a Democrat with zero campaign experience. And she needs to unseat the Republican incumbent in her solidly Republican district.

She's fighting this unlikely fight because technology — in the form of an online platform called Crowdpac.com — made her believe it's possible.

Google fired a male employee after he wrote an incendiary memo about women at work. But now what?

The tech giant has a poor track record when it comes to diversity. A new leader at Google could have the solution — if her bosses want to listen.

If you ever have to travel a long distance — say, Washington, D.C., to Atlanta, Detroit to Chicago, San Francisco to Los Angeles — you might be stuck with only bad options: a flight from an airport with chronic delays that's hard to get to, or an Amtrak train ride that costs three times as much as a flight.

Well, now there's a new option on the horizon: a double-decker bus with pods for sleeping. It's called, simply, Cabin. It's an overnight service — like a red-eye — designed for people who love going places, but hate being in transit.

Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET

Uber's leadership already has a lot on its plate, starting with finding a new CEO after former chief Travis Kalanick resigned abruptly last month. But that's not all the tech giant has to do. For the business to survive, Uber also has to repair its relationship with drivers, which leaders at the company say is "broken."

There's a good chance you're hungry for information you didn't even know you wanted, but Google knows — and the tech giant is going to spoon-feed it to you.

Google is following in Facebook's footsteps, with plans to redesign its popular search page on mobile phones so that you'll get something similar to the social media site's news feed. Only Google's will just be called "feed."

An update from the Wild Wild West of fake news technologies: A team of computer scientists have figured out how to make words come out of the mouth of former President Barack Obama — on video — by using artificial intelligence.

Microsoft is announcing a new effort to connect more people to the Internet. Not people far away, in the so-called emerging markets — where other American tech giants have built Internet balloons and drones. Instead, Microsoft is focusing right here at home, on the 23.4 million people in rural America without broadband access.

Uber is a mess — the "bad boy" ethos shattered, a nervous breakdown in its place. This week, the CEO announced he is taking a sudden leave of absence. A former U.S. attorney general released a brutal audit of the startup's culture. It's a terrifying moment for many investors who want that $70 billion unicorn to make them rich or richer — not implode.

You probably never want to hear you've been fired. If you've heard those words, you know they feel like a punch in the gut. Now, imagine that instead of your boss telling you face to face, you get the news from a pop-up alert on your smartphone. That's how it works at Uber.

Microsoft has had a whirlwind last few days. The company's Windows operating system was the target of a massive cyberattack that took down hundreds of thousands of computers across 150 countries. While it's too soon to say the worst is over — there could be another wave — the president of the company does have two big takeaways.

One takeaway is sexy and edgy. The other is boring, plain vanilla — but no less important to Brad Smith, president of Microsoft.

Facebook's CEO gave a public address on Tuesday in Silicon Valley, laying out the company's grand plan for the next year. Mark Zuckerberg provided dazzling details about how Facebook will use cameras, like the ones on our phones, to draw us deeper into digital life — and zero details about how Facebook will address growing safety concerns online.

He was speaking at F8. In tech land, that stands for the Facebook Developer Conference, which brings together thousands of people who make apps for Facebook and build other tools for the platform.

Uber is in crisis. This week the president resigned, after just six months on the job. Morale has been shaken following a damning account of sexual harassment. The board of directors is so concerned about the CEO's ability to lead, they're looking for a No. 2 to help steer the company.

I recently visited China on a business trip. While there, I decided I wanted to get a pedicure. My search turned into quite the adventure — one that involved cutting edge translation technology, and a key word lost in translation.

The chief of Facebook made an ambitious announcement last week, though it would have been easy to miss. It came Thursday afternoon — about the same time that President Trump held his news conference. While the reality-TV icon is a genius at capturing our attention, the technology leader's words may prove to be more relevant to our lives, and more radical.

Editor's note: This story contains references to child pornography that some readers may find disturbing.

It's tempting to think of Facebook as pure entertainment — the dumb game you play when your boss looks away, or your date goes to the bathroom. But that's underestimating how powerful the Facebook empire has become. For some, the app is more important than a driver's license. People need it to contact colleagues, or even start and build businesses.

Facebook is unveiling a new journalism project Wednesday. No, the Silicon Valley giant isn't hiring a team of reporters. Facebook says it wants engineers — the tech talent at local and global publishers — to tag-team earlier on to develop technologies that make Facebook a more powerful platform to distribute news and discuss it.