Raised by Robots

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"I love you, cold unfeeling robot arm!"
Zim, Invader Zim

An artificial lifeform raises a normal child, whatever the 'normal' standard is. The reasoning can be different each time; sometimes the parents are absent, but still around, leaving the robot as their only friend. Other times the parents are dead outright leaving the robot to be the only parental figure the child has.

Given that one of the suggested uses for the humanoid robots currently being developed is childcare, there is a possibility of this trope becoming Truth in Television in the not too distant future.

Compare Raised by Wolves, Robo Family. Sub-Trope of Promotion to Parent.


  • There's a Geico ad where a woman tries to save money by enrolling her children in a daycare run by robots. It does not go well.

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • Magnus Robot Fighter: Our hero was raised by the freewilled robot A-1, who trained him in robot fighting.
  • In the Sillage Prequel Series Nävis, the title character is raised on a jungle planet by a robot. However, she can also apparently talk to the local animals and has a tiger-like creature for a friend, so it kinda overlaps with Wild Child.
  • Monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone from Nextwave had a robot babysitter built by her father named "Hate-mother". Hate-mother also doubled as an iron-maiden torture device, making her a disciplinary tool as well.

  • Inverted in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence with David, the little robot boy raised by humans.
  • In Mars Needs Moms, the female Martians are raised by disciplinary robots that are fueled by mothers from the planet Earth, hence their kidnapping.

  • The book I Robot opens with the first short story about a young girl named Gloria and her nursemaid Robbie, who happens to be a mute robot. The plot of the story is to get him back after Gloria's mother returns him to the factory for fear of her daughter coming out strange due to the influence of the robot.
    • This would eventually become the norm for Spacers, who tended to live on large private estates and treated procreation as a social duty rather than something desirable. It went Up to Eleven on Solaria, where the resident Spacers had become utterly averse to human contact of any kind, and delegated all child-rearing duties to robots.
  • This was discussed in a short story by Spider Robinson, in which a time traveler, interested in studying the nature of humans, travels through time to ask a wise man whether an experiment was ethical: kidnapping children otherwise doomed to die in order to have them raised by robots using a language stripped of all religious references to see if they develop religion. The catch? The intensely curious wise man doesn't get to know the outcome of the experiment if he says it was unethical to kidnap the doomed children.
  • In Edda by Conor Kostick, the main character, Penelope, was raised by a sentient artificial intelligence being. From his virtual world, he is able to control the life support in the real world that keeps Penelope alive, and he raises her: her body is kept alive by his controlling the machines, and her mind is hooked up to the virtual reality equipment that puts her in Edda.
  • In the short science fiction story, "The Island" by Peter Watts, the narrator wakes from cryosleep to meet a young engineer who'd been born on the ship and raised in isolation by the ship's sub-human AI.
  • In a couple of Philip K Dick 's stories a totally sociopathic character is this due to robots replacing families.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Han Solo and Princess Leia have a robot nanny for their children.
  • Hester Shaw from Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve was raised for several years by a Stalker named Shrike (think Doctor Who's Cybermen mixed with Rampancy-stage AI from Halo) after her parents were murdered. Actually, she gets worried that she is little more that a piece in his collection, and runs away, breaking his heart in the process.
  • Deconstructed in Ray Bradbury's short story "The Veldt". A family's children spend so much time in a virtual-reality nursery, running simulations of the African wilderness and lions eating carcasses, that their parents become concerned and consult a child psychologist, who suggests they turn off the nursery and take the children to the countryside. The children beg for one last playtime in the nursery before they go, lock their parents in it, and have the virtual lions tear them apart, having grown to consider the nursery more important than their own parents.

Live-Action TV
  • Zev bellringer in Lexx was raised by malfunctioning robots after being sold to the wife bank on the planet B3K.
  • The sociopathic villain of the Doctor Who story "The Robots of Death" was raised by robots.
  • An episode of Welcome To Paradox was about a facility where humans are raised by androids, and free humans from outside trying to free them.
  • The Twilight Zone:
    • "I Sing the Body Electric" is about children who were raised by a robotic "grandmother", and grow up to love her as such. It was later adapted by Ray Bradburynote  into a short story using the same title as the episode. This was later remade into a TV movie named The Electric Grandmother
    • In "The Lateness of the Hour", a daughter rebels against her inventer father and his robotic servents who she finds so cold by informing her parents she's getting married. At which point she realizes why there are no pictures of herself as a child.
  • Deconstructed in Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Data creates a robot daughter and attempts to raise her. She actually surpasses Data in her ability to simulate humans, such as using contractions and briefly experiencing fear. She ends up "dying" in the end, from irreparable damage to her "brain".
  • This is revealed to be the case for DG in Tin Man after she was sent to Earth by her mother the Queen of OZ.

Video Games
  • Flora Reinhold from Professor Layton and the Curious Village fits this trope to a T. After Flora's mother died, her father had a robot version of her late mother built to make her happy. However, Flora was frightened of it. After her father died, the villagers took care of her, all of whom happen to be robots built to amuse her and keep her company.
  • Shay from Broken Age was raised by his ship Bossa Nostra's AI. At the beginning of the game he's starting to realize that his "mother" has been keeping secrets from him, and he longs to be free.

Web Comics
  • In Girl Genius Agatha was raised by constructs, and Gil and Theo considered their construct caretaker to be like a parent.
  • Exaggerated in Homestuck: post-Scratch Dirk Strider was raised by robots... that he built himself.
  • In Robotto Jukujo When Tomo's real mom left, his dad ordered a Robot Mom to look after him and do the chores

Web Original
  • One of the stories on Cerberus Daily News is about parents leaving their children with robot nannies. There's a debate on the effects it has on a child, and whether parents are neglecting their children or just simply don't have the time to be with them.

Western Animation
  • Played for Laughs in Futurama with the Nannybots manufactured by Mom's Friendly Robot Company.
  • Zim from Invader Zim loved the cold unfeeling robot hand that raised him.
  • Zig-Zagged by Sari from Transformers Animated. She's a human raised by a human, who later loses her father to kidnapping and has to live with the Autobots in a warehouse until he is rescued. Then it's revealed that she's a techno-organic, which means that she was a robot raised by a human raised as a human later partly raised by robots.
  • Rosie, the robotic nanny from The Jetsons.
  • Sidekick: Eric is left alone to run amok with only Maxum Brain, a hyperintelligent computer, to keep him in check.
  • On Legion of Super Heroes, Superman-X was cloned from Superman's DNA and raised by the robot(s) who created him.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command has a less dramatic example: one episode features a human girl adopted by robot parents, but in this world robots are sapient and emotive, so it's not really any weirder than, say, a white family adopting a black kid.
  • In the Donald Duck cartoon "Modern Inventions", Donald sees a robot nanny in an exhibition and decides to test her out by pretending to be a baby. Turns out the robot is still a little buggy and treats him rather roughly.
  • Larry 3000 from Time Squad acts as a maternal figure towards Otto. Buck's around, but isn't Otto's father and rarely gets parental, leaving Larry to be the one who has to take care of him.
  • Gyrus Krinkle of Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!. He didn't grow up quite right.