S.B. Divya’s new science fiction thriller, Machinehood, is set in a not-too-distant future when people have access to tabletop biotech labs that churn out everything from cures for new diseases to performance-enhancing drugs. But they find that taking such drugs is all but mandatory as they compete for paying gig work in an economy where more and more jobs can be done by artificial intelligence.
Before she was a published author, Divya was an engineer with a background in computational neuroscience and data science, as well as computing hardware and software. She talked to Fast Company about how her work has shaped her writing, the not-quite-dystopian world she envisions in Machinehood, and why she’s still optimistic about the future.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
How did your tech career inform your writing?
I actually started college intending to go into astrophysics, and after a couple of years I got sideswiped by a really interesting new department at…