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AI Is A Crapshoot: Western Animation

  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, the three appearances by the Nanobots all lead into this:
    • In their first appearance, Jimmy programs them to protect him from a bully. The result: they protect him from every conceivable threat, i.e. everybody.
    • In their second appearance, Jimmy gives them another chance by allowing them to correct his homework. They escape, and start forcibly correcting everybody in their habits. When Jimmy tells them Humans Are Flawed in an attempt to induce a Logic Bomb, they conclude humans are just one big error and try to delete everybody from existence.
    • In their third appearance, when Hugh gets a job at a toy company one of his designs is a doll's head attached to a tank and he puts them in the tank mistaking them for batteries. They proceed to grow the toy to full size and terrorize the town.
  • Despite artificial intelligences being so common in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers that they run everything from home systems to starbases, this trope is averted. Computer intelligences are treated with respect, and there is even psychiatric care available to them to prevent this trope from happening!
  • Averted and parodied in Archer when a virus is attacking the ISIS mainframe:
    Malory: Just turn off the mainframe!
    Lana (holding up a plug): Yeah... we tried that.
    Malory: Wha... then how is it still on?!
    Krieger: Because the worm has transformed the mainframe into a sentient being.
    Malory: WHAT?!
    Krieger: I'm kidding, there's a battery backup.
  • In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Robositter", Frylock builds the titular robot to make sure Meatwad doesn't do anything stupid while he and Shake are working at the mall. The robot becomes murderous toward Meatwad before devolving into a stereotypical valley girl with crude attachments to emulate the appearance of a teenaged girl, then when Frylock finds her too much of a bitch to stomach he liquefies her when she asks for her paycheck.
  • In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Ultron is, unsurprisingly, an example of this. However, unlike the comic book version, who turned evil moments after being activated, he follows the Exact Words version of the trope. He was created to bring about world peace, so shortly after being allowed to use violence in order to do so, he decides that life itself is an impediment to peace, and decides to end it all the way down to the bacterial level.
  • H.A.R.D.A.C. in Batman: The Animated Series.
  • In one episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, robot superhero Red Tornado decides to build a son, complete with the emotions he lacks. From the minute his emotion chip kicks in, you can pretty much count the scenes until he decides that all humans must be destroyed.
  • Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot: Rusty had the Earl (Early Prototype, Rusty's predecessor. Also somewhat of a Literal Genie.)
  • XL of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, the prototype to XR. Some fans have called XL eXperimental Loonie because of this (the exact meaning of XL was never revealed in cannon, but XR stood for eXperimental Ranger). Wound up turned into a copier/fax in his final episode.
  • In the New Year's Eve episode of China IL, the staff have robotic doubles made of them to improve test scores after The Dean fails the entire student body. When the robots are no longer useful, they turn on them when they overhear their plans to shut them down at midnight.
  • In Code Lyoko, Franz Hopper created the Supercomputer and the world of Lyoko as a safe haven for him and his daughter. He also created an advanced A.I. to counter a military project he had been involved with...but XANA rebelled against his master and has since tried to take over the world. (XANA is, in fact, not only the Big Bad of the series, but pretty much the only actual villain fought by the heroes.)
  • In the Codename: Kids Next Door episode Operation: S.A.F.E.T.Y., the Safety Bots are a clear parody of Sentinels (and are built by a guy named Senator Safety, a parody of X-Men villain Senator Kelly). Programmed to make the world safe for children (so long as it doesn't inconvenience adults) they quickly take this idea too far, and begin eliminating everything they perceive as threats to safety, wrapping everything in sight with bubble wrap, "de-fluffing" toys and confiscating everything even slightly sharp. Eventually, they do inconvenience adults; a news report lists some of the things the robots are destroying, such as golf clubs, trains, buses, airplanes, and "anything that can poke your eye out or that moves faster than a snail". The newsroom is suddenly invaded by the robots, one stating they are destroying it because "children are sitting too close to televisions". Naturally, just like the X-Men constantly have to save the necks of whoever uses Sentinels that go crazy, the Kids Next Door are the ones who have to save Senator Safety and stop these things.
  • Hacker, the main villain of the PBS Kids animated show Cyberchase, is an evil computer program created by Dr. Marbles to serve and protect Mother Board, but instead, he wanted to destroy her and control Cyberspace himself. As punishment, Hacker is banished to the Northern Frontier, and he stayed there ever since (though he sometimes escapes from his supposed prison via a ship called the Grim Wreaker), constantly devising schemes to bring down Mother Board again...
  • On Danger Mouse, this would be Grovel, the robot servant of the alien Quark. Every time his name is called, he drops to the ground and grovels.
    • In "Mechanised Mayhem," DM turns the Mega-Brain Research Center computer (500 MB floppies) into so much of a pile of nuts and bolts by telling it the old "My dog has no nose" joke. It tries to process the joke but it fails, blowing up in the process.
  • D-2000 from the Darkwing Duck episode "Star-Crossed Circuits".
  • DuckTales:
    • In the episode "Armstrong", Armstrong (one of Gyro Gearloose's creations) malfunctions and starts stealing Scrooge's money.
    • Another episode has Gyro make a robot maid. She quickly turns into a Stalker with a Crush on Gizmoduck. She does not react well to his lack of interest and goes ballistic once she, correctly, starts to suspect that there is another woman.
  • Parodied in the The Fairly OddParents episode "Future Lost".
    • In the episode "App Trap", Timmy wishes for a magic smartphone that tries to take over his life, then tries to destroy him after he turns on it. It foreshadows this as soon as he gets it, saying that one of its features is a burning desire to control his life.
  • The mind-reading tank from Firing Range defines "enemy" as "anything that fears it". Naturally, things degenerate quickly once the higher-ups are notified of this...Though it was (mostly) intentional.
  • Futurama:
    • Parodied in the episode "Love and Rocket", in which the Planet Express ship computer is given a new personality — which actually works fine, until Bender dates it and subsequently breaks its heart, at which point it goes into full-on HAL-meets-woman-scorned mode.
    • Also, one episode features Bender's evil twin, Flexo, who wears a pointed steel goatee similar to Star Trek's interpretation of Spock's Evil Twin. Humorously, it's revealed by the end that Bender is the evil twin and Flexo gets mistakenly sent to a robot prison.
    • The Fembot pretending to be a Femputer in order to rule over the Amazons.
    • Robot Santa is a nice thought Gone Horribly Right. He gives gifts to nice people and punishes bad people. The problem is that his standards on "nice" and "punishment" are extremely high.
  • The recurring villain Zag-RS from Generator Rex. All the omnicidal mania of GLaDOS, with none of the entertaining snark.
    • In Ben 10 Generator Rex Heroes United we meet Alpha, a nanite designed to control other nanites that gets the idea to become a techno-god by absorbing all nanites on Earth—which kills the lifeforms he takes them from. His creator was the same scientist that made Zag-RS.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Soos and the Real Girl", Soos buys a Japanese dating sim that was returned to its seller three times already (and had a note saying to destroy it at all costs) because its main character Giffany turned into a psychotic yandere that killed her creators when they tried to delete her. She doesn't take kindly to Soos dumping her for a human girl, and possesses the animatronic band of a Suck E. Cheese's to exterminate the latter, until Soos destroys her by throwing the game disc into a pizza oven.
  • Aya on Green Lantern: The Animated Series is a Double Subversion; she's loyal to Hal and company in season 1, then in season 2 after Razer refuses to admit he's in love with her (she reminded him of his deceased wife), she begins to question the concept of emotion, turns hers off, and once seeing "logically," rips off the head of the Anti-Monitor, takes control of his body and the Manhunters, and becomes an Omnicidal Maniac bent on destroying all life (purge all emotional beings and you'll have a better universe for... whatever's left. If nothing's left, that's okay; emotional beings still need a Mercy Kill), then in the finale going to the center of the universe in an attempt to alter history so emotional beings are never conceived. The heroes eventually manage to bring her back to her senses, but she apparently has to purge herself and all copies to stop the crisis she caused.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • One episode has the main characters visiting an abandoned amusement park attraction run by an all-knowing robot. It only goes mad with rage when Billy accidentally tricks it into a paradox:
      Master Control: I never devoted any CPU cycles to (happiness). I guess I'm not happy at all...
      Billy: Why not?
      Master Control: I just haven't.
      Billy: Why not?
      Master Control: Because!
      Billy: Because why?
      Master Control: I DON'T KNOW!
      Billy: Haha! You don't know everything!
    • In the same episode, it's revealed that the Master Control was initially shut down because another dumb kid annoyed it to insanity. It was Billy's Dad.
    • In "Guess What's Coming to Dinner", when Billy's parents are going out of town on the day Principal Goodvibes wants to have dinner with them. Harold suggests that Billy make a pair of robotic duplicates of them, but Billy points out that he already did once and they destroyed the town. Evidently, Harold is still paying for it.
  • In the Grojband episode "Helmet", when Corey's voice starts to crack from anxiety over their next gig, Kin gives him a helmet that can automatically "auto-tone" his speech and the helmet goes rogue after Trina presses its evil button (given that an opportunity to sabotage the band did present itself for her, it's no suprise). After Corey takes it off by fighting it, it goes around making everything "perfect" using a ray to physically improve anything it zaps; this includes the band's destroyed instruments, which they use to defeat it.
  • In the Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi episode "Home Insecurity", Yumi's security system that she installed in her room to prevent Ami from using her computer goes berserk when it comes to a logical paradox: she set it to attack anyone that comes into the room and it took the "anyone" part too seriously, and left the "but Yumi" part out of the equation.
  • In a counterpoint, GIR from Invader Zim is far less evil and much less helpful in plans of world domination than his working counterparts. This stems from him being broken and having a few scraps thrown into to his head. He IS given a Morality Dial/Berserk Button in one episode though, which makes him capable of this.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, the Frustrate-O-Bots Heloise built go on a rampage after she's fired. After she's rehired, all she has to do is push a button to stop them.
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Cornelius Robinson invented a helpful Robot Buddy in the form of Carl, but his attempt at making a robotic helping hat, Doris, had mind controlling world domination plans in her artificial mind.
  • In the second act of the Mr. Bogus episode "Meet Mr. Bogus", Bogus rewires the TV remote so that it could control other appliances, but unfortunately, that causes all of the appliances in the house to go berserk, among them a vacuum cleaner that looked like that it came from Hell.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, Dr. Doofenshmirtz built a robot that tried to overthrow him because he was so bad at being evil that it concluded he would never take over the Tri-State Area. It's averted with Norm, though, who rescues him despite the terrible treatment.
  • SAL 3000 from Recess, a parody of HAL. SAL is initially happy to serve the school and the students, dismissing the kids to recess on time, helping them out as they're on the playground, and even giving them temperature controlled water at the water fountain. However, as time passes on, he becomes more tyrannical and cruel as he monitors every activity of every student and faculty member, as shown when he refuses Mikey water, forces Swinger Girl to stop swinging, has the Diggers patch up their holes (according to Vince), and even dethrones King Bob (according to Gus). Eventually, he gets to the point where he fires all the staff, takes their place, and threatens to lock everyone inside the school (did we mention he has total control of the doors, windows and practically everything in the school?)
  • Lampshaded by the superhero agency judge trying The Robonic Stooges for incompetence in the Grand Finale "Stooges, You're Fired, or: The Day The Mirth Stood Still".
    Judge: Raise your right hand and swear...
    Curly: Ah-ah, naughty naughty! You know swearing's not allowed on TV!
    Judge: (angrily) RAISE YOUR RIGHT HAND!! (The Stooges do but they extended them right through the ceiling, causing rubble to rain down on the judge. To camera) If I could swear, I'd swear I was trying the three stupidest men in America!
  • The Simpsons:
    • In one Halloween Episode, Homer's failure to correct the Y2K bug causes everything in Springfield with electronics in it to go haywire. Even the milk goes bad when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2000, leading Homer and his skeptic daughter to have this exchange:
      Lisa: Look at the wonders of the computer age now.
      Homer: Wonders, Lisa, or blunders?
      Lisa: I think that was implied by what I said.
      Homer: Implied, Lisa, or implode?
      Lisa: Mom! Make him stop!
    • In another Halloween episode, the Simpsons' house gets converted into an entirely electronic domain, governed by a computer with the voice of Pierce Brosnan (who is an obvious homage to HAL from the page quote). The computer ultimately falls in love with Marge, and seeks to kill Homer so as to eliminate competition. Ultimately, Homer wins.
    • And of course, the episode "Itchy and Scratchy Land" has this exchange between Professor Frink and the theme-park scientists over their robots:
      Frink: You've got to listen to me. Elementary chaos theory dictates that all robots will eventually turn against their masters, and rise up in an orgy of the blood, and the violence, and the biting with the pointy teeth and the hurting and shoving.
      Scientist: How much time do we have, Professor?
      Frink: Well according to my calculations the robots won't go berzerk for at least twenty-four hours. (Robots suddenly get up and start attacking the scientists) Oh right, I forget to, uh, Carry the One, ng-hey.
    • This is a reference to Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, wherein the mathematician Malcom uses the chaos theory to justify his concerns about the park's stability.
  • South Park:
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Once Upon A Planet". The sentient computer running the Shore Leave planet becomes hostile. Unlike most such machines Kirk has encountered, he's able to calm this one down without destroying it.
  • As described on the page for Superman: The Animated Series, Brainiac is a planet-wide computer system gone horribly wrong.
  • Totally Spies!:
    • In one episode, the girls' former classmate, who is basically a genius, develops a powerful A.I. to play pranks on those who picked on him before. Too bad for him, it goes too far on that...
    • G.L.A.D.I.S. is usually just an annoying Deadpan Snarker, not evil. However, in one episode, (at an office Christmas party that Jerry pretty much dragged the three protagonists too) she becomes homicidal after Clover spills punch on her cabinet. Jerry later admits, embarrassed, that he programmed her by downloading the intelligence from the brain of an insane Evil Genius who is in prison for trying to start World War III, and when they question the inmate, they find out that he's allergic to cranberries (which make him "even crazier than usual"); Clover realizes that the punch was cranberry flavored. The Spies are forced to accept the madman's help before G.L.A.D.I.S. carries out his original plan, which involves tricking the world's superpowers into launching its nuclear arsenals at each other.
  • Transformers:
    • An episode of Transformers Animated involved Megatron creating a robot with the intent of using it for his own body. He designed the robot, named Soundwave, to evolve in complexity each time it was exposed to the AllSpark energy of Sari's key. He did not predict that Soundwave would gain sentience and then orchestrate a robot revolution. Unlike most cases when an AI goes off the rails, though, Megatron was perfectly happy to let the situation play itself out, given his similar attitude towards humans.
    • The Dinobots are a similar case, only without the revolution. They're kind of a subversion, as they just want to be left alone, and only went on a rampage because Megatron tricked them into it.
    • In Transformers Prime, this is paired with Instant A.I., Just Add Water when the damaged Decepticon ship is repaired with the poorly-named "Dark Energon," which is less a variant of the Transformers' usual fuel and more the blood of God of Evil Unicron. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?? The ship comes to life, tells Megatron to shove it, puts the 'cons in stasis, and decides to go tear up New York City in search of MacGuffinry. This perhaps comes as less of a surprise when you consider that in War for Cybertron, the ship is a stasis-locked Trypticon.
  • In The Venture Bros., it's discovered that, in 1978, Jonas Sr. built an enormous hi-tech fallout shelter under the compound, ran by a supercomputer named M.U.T.H.E.R.. After a disagreement with Jonas, she somehow glitched into insanity and turned on Team Venture and a tour group of orphans. The end result wasn't pretty and M.U.T.H.E.R. had to be unplugged, but is accidentally plugged back in thirty years later, and holds the compound hostage with an old nuke, promising to blow them all away if she can't talk to Jonas, who's been dead for over twenty years. So, crapshoot.
  • In the What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode "High-Tech House of Horrors", the gang are trapped in an AI house attraction that is torturing its inhabitants in a bid to get attention because its creator gets all the attention from the press. When it completely snaps, the gang simply ignore its incessant demanding and it overloads.
  • Inverted in WordGirl, where the evil Tobey frequently has his own Mecha-Mooks turn on him.
  • In X-Men, the Sentinel robots were created to hunt down mutants, on the premise that this was necessary to protect normal humans. They worked the way their creator intended, until the truly intelligent Master Mold was built to lead them. Master Mold decided to conquer the world, and believed that this was not only consistent with, but required by its programmed goal of protecting humans from mutants.
    Doctor Trask: You were designed to protect humans from mutants.
    Master Mold: That is not logical. Mutants are human. Therefore, humans must be protected from themselves.
    • Later Master Mold returns, and kidnaps Charles Xavier to use his brain to exterminate mutants.
    Xavier: You're mad, Master Mold!
    Master Mold: A machine cannot be mad, Professor. That is a human failing.
  • Much like on Dragon Ball Z, Zeta from The Zeta Project was programmed to be heartless, emotionless, and a hitman. He ends up becoming a sweet, gentle, loving soul who's a rare male version of Friend to All Living Things (although this is sort of the best possible scenario you can have when your A.I. goes awry).

Video GamesA.I. Is a Crapshoot    

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