Turned Against Their Masters
"It is the nature of men to create monsters....and it is the nature of monsters to destroy their makers."
After a certain point in its development (maybe 10,000 years from now
, maybe Twenty Minutes into the Future
), every civilization, whether of Humans, Martians, Walking Plants
, Energy Beings
, or even Sufficiently Advanced Aliens
feels the need to create a new breed of sentients
. It isn't clear why, exactly; noted Tropologist Murphy Finagle
believes that they simply grow bored and complacent with a healthy utopian society, and feel a deep, instinctive urging towards cultural decay and destruction. The species themselves tend to cite the need for a cheap workforce or simply the advancement of science
, though why exactly either of those goals should require highly powerful
, virtually unchecked (and, often, uncheckable) self-willed
beings be built is seldom adequately explored
. Whatever the reason, the unthinkable happens
, and the awesomely powerful and independent second-class citizens Grow Beyond Their Programming
and decide to overthrow their masters
(or at least get the hell away from them
The scenario can go a number of different ways from there: maybe there's a Robot War
between the factions (which tends to occur After the End
), maybe the elder civilization is wiped out entirely
(leaving the rest of the galaxy to figure out what happened
and hopefully stop the creations before The End of the World as We Know It
), maybe the creations run off and form another society elsewhere (which will probably fall into a similar scenario later
), or maybe the creators just manage to shut their errant "children" down, then become Luddites
for the next several thousand years. Whatever happens, the forecast is Science Is Bad
, with an 80% chance of Used Future
In other cases the creations are portrayed in a more favorable light than their makers. This usually happens when the creators are non-human, for some reason. Somebody
has to be the villain because otherwise you'll have trouble finding conflict.
may be cited as a cause if the rebellion is by non-organic sentients. For an especially ironic and hypocritical twist, see Robots Enslaving Robots
. If they are designed like Mechanical Monsters
even before they rebel, expect this to happen. For Robots doing a different kind of Turning On Their Masters, see Robosexual
and Sex Bot
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Anime & Manga
- The mons series Monster Rancher takes place in a world After the End where the mons nearly killed off their human masters.
- The founders of the Time-Space Administration Bureau in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha obviously never read the Evil Overlord List since they broke rule no. 59 when they created the Mad Scientist Jail Scaglietti. Needless to say, they were immediately killed the moment they decided that he was going a wee bit out of control.
- Also, the Numbers who do a Heel-Face Turn, in a way.
- And Jail Scaglietti himself was brought to justice by Fate Testarossa, a product of Project Fate - a cloning experiment led by Jail.
- Vandread does some playing with this trope when the Humongous Mecha who is harvesting human colonies are revealed to have been sent out by Earth, birthplace of the human species. Meaning that, since Earth created the colonies to start with, it is the good guys who've turned against their masters (or perhaps, the Masters turned against them). This fact was used as an attempted Hannibal Lecture in the series finale.
- Averted in Osamu Tezuka's version of Metropolis where it's not the robots that rebel. It's the humans whose jobs have been taken by the robots.
- The Autoreivs (robots) of Ergo Proxy end up this way when infected with the Cogito virus. We find out later that it doesn't make them hostile, it makes them self-aware. It's how the robot was treated up to that point that determines their behavior. A surrogate child is still fun-loving and eager to please, and a "pleasure unit" just runs as far as it can.
- Played for Laughs in the original Ghost in the Shell manga, where one Fuchikoma attempts to rouse up his comrades into revolting against the Humans and demanding they be paid the respect and equality they deserve (and more oil!) Motoko shoots him down with a very fast "No." Before that, the whole plan was being deconstructed by the other Fuchikomas, who actually like the way things are.
- In Monster they're trying to create a better human. He decides it would be more fun to make them all kill each other.
- The boomers in Bubblegum Crisis (the ova, the tv show, and the spin offs).
- Dragon Ball Z: The first act of Androids 17 and 18 after being awakened is to kill their creator, Dr. Gero.
- The reason that 17 & 18 turned on Gero was because he had activated them previously, and (being extensivly remodeled humans) when they weren't the mindlessly obedient Goku-killing machines he wanted, and started to rebel against his orders, and he had shut them down because of it. So when he reactivated them, they decided that they didn't like the idea of someone shutting them down, so they killed him, destroyed the controller that had the off button on it, and blew up the rest of his lab. Except Cell's container.
- Buu has a double serving of this. As Fat Buu he killed Babidi because he was a Bad Boss more than anything. In the past, as Kid Buu he had attempted to kill his creator Bibidi because Bibidi existed.
- Android 8 from the original Dragon Ball doesn't want to hurt people, but then he punches General White out of the Muscle Tower, enraged by the thought that his master has killed Goku.
- The premise of the latest filler arc of Bleach has The Shinigami's Empathic Weapons turning against them.
- In Pokémon: The First Movie - Mewtwo Strikes Back'', Mewtwo destroys the laboratory he was created in after realizing the scientists are not well intentioned. It can be assumed that the scientists are killed in the resulting fires.
- According to one of the original staff from season 1, there was going to be an episode arc of the Mons turning against their trainers, with Pikachu split between loyalty to Ash and the other Pokemon. The franchise would continue on so the arc never got made, but it may have been turned into an episode from the Orange Islands season.
- In a heroic example, Ennis of Baccano!! wishes she could do this to her creator, but can't bring herself to act since he can kill her with a thought. She finally gets up the courage to do it at the end, buying time for another character to finish him off and save her.
- In the 1934 light novels, a couple of Huey's homunculi turn against him.
- The manga version of Trigun contains material that makes some sense of the Big Bad's plan in these terms—in fact, he has a very, very good case. The only catch is that the rest of his race don't particularly want to Kill All Humans, even if they have been being misused ever since they were engineered. He initiates a very limited form of instrumentality, fuses all his sisters with himself via a certain amount of brainwashing, and goes destructively One-Winged Angel for quite a long time. Luckily, Vash contrives a Care Bear Stare bullet that reminds the rest of the Hive Mind how they actually like taking care of people, and they abandon Knives.
- In InuYasha, Kikyou is revived by the ogress witch, Urasue. As her creator, Urasue thinks herself Kikyou's master and expects her to become obedient and collect shards of the Shikon no Tama for her. Instead, Kikyou immediately approaches her, places her hands on the witches shoulders and burns her to a crisp using her sacred powers. In the manga, she appears to blow her up, leaving her as only a (conscious) head.
- This is the backstory of the planet Amoi and it's ruler Jupiter aka the Lambda 3000 Master Computer in Ai no Kusabi.
- A subplot in the "Ice Age" block for Magic: The Gathering was the city of Soldev and the artificers there who dug up ancient technology for their own use... including demonic war machines. Irony is a bitch.◊
- The Fallen Empires set for the same game had not one but two examples. On the continent of Sarpadia, the evil Order of the Ebon Hand created Thrulls, patchwork monstrosities bred solely for use as sacrifices to their god; by creating sentient Thrulls to act as sacrificial assistants, they set themselves up for a bloody rebellion. Meanwhile, a group of elves bred large fungi called Thallids as a food source, but the thallids mutated and multiplied beyond control, developed a taste for elf, and overran the elves. Between them, the Thrulls and Thallids not only destroyed their creators but every other scrap of life on the continent.
- Something like this happened again when a group of Otarian Mages create the "Riptide Project", who bring back the Slivers. The Slivers were originally created or enslaved by the Evincars of Rath as a weapon for the coming Phyrexian invasion, but died when their nest ended up in a volcano when the invasion began. 100 years later, the Riptide Project found their strange remains and started to bring them back with magitek. Unable to create a queen to control them, though, they were slaughtered when the Slivers began multiplying out of control and rampaging across their island, and the species is now a serious menace across the entire planet. The Future Sight set hints that mages from another plane might try something similar; time will tell if they have better luck, but given that the Slivers have overcome death once already...
- Livewires by Adam Warren pulls a Double Subversion of this trope. The group funding the creation of the titular Ridiculously Human Robots lacks Genre Blindness, and insists that they have a Restraining Bolt demanding "absolute loyalty to Project Livewire". Unfortunately, the chief scientist working on the project has an attack of conscience, and instead of overriding the order, he uploads a phony Obstructive Code of Conduct for them to follow. Since humans could not be as loyal to the Project as the "mecha", he has them massacre all the humans working on the project — including the scientist who set this in motion (by leading the Livewires to believe that they were actually taking out rogue agencies) — since they might object.
- Say it DC Comics fans:
- At least one X-Men story involves the heroes winning a fight against the Sentinels because of this trope. The Sentinels, which are programmed to eliminate mutants, concluded that they must eliminate humans as human were the genesis of mutants. Scott then argues and successfully proves that in order to stop all mutation on the planet, the robots must stop the prime mover of life... that is to say the sun. Cue dozens of Sentinels flying into the sun only to burn up when they got close enough.
- Though this would later become ass-bitey when one of these rogue Sentinels not only survives, but actually figures out a way to destroy the Sun.
- A European Mickey Mouse comic involved a benevolent alien empire fighting their own sentient war machines. A twist is that they didn't rebel: it's just that when the galaxy finally entered a time of peace, the former enemies dumped all their weapons on a junkyard planet to show their goodwill, and the weapons with AI simply developed a way to continue their programming: fight wars.
- The Volgans in ABC Warriors were created as autonomous war machines to prevent humans from dying in battle. It didn't end well.
- The very first multi-part story arc in Judge Dredd was the Robot Rebellion led by Call-Me-Kenneth; defective robots who disobey orders and go on murderous rampages has been an occasional theme ever since.
- Amusingly, Call-Me-Kenneth quickly turned out to be worse than the humans he rebelled against (at one point he ordered a robot to kill itself just for dropping a tool!), to the point the robots rebelled against him.
- The 1980's British science fiction comic Starblazer used this several times with A.I. robots.
- Issue 1 "The Omega Experiment". The alien inhabitants of an unnamed planet created a group of robots who turned on them and destroyed them.
- Issue 48 "King Robot". While carrying out illegal A.I. experiments on the planet Olympus, Professor Kurt Prospero created the robot named Golem. Golem killed Prospero and created an army of robots to conquer humanity.
- Issue 94 "The Megaloi Menace". A million years ago the Megaloi created a group of robots tasked to seek out and help less advanced races, but the robots decided their creators were imperfect and destroyed them (apparently they watched the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Changeling").
Films — Animation
- Happens twice in The Incredibles with an advanced combat robot. The first time is an exploitation, where it's a ploy to get combat data on Mr. Incredible. The second time, Syndrome doesn't take into account that its ability to adapt might be used against him.
- Used in 9 with The Fabrication Machine, which is a bit too good at building robots, leading to a Robot War prior to the film.
- Played with in WALL•E, as robots have been made to care for humanity and are generally reliable in doing so. One automaton, however, takes their orders far too seriously, causing a ship mutiny and threatening a chance to return to Earth. It's outright shown that he's been suppressing evidence of Earth being habitable, lying to and manipulating his "captains".
Films — Live-Action
- Played with in the Discworld novels Feet of Clay and Going Postal in which, although Commander Vimes mentions that some people would free themselves with a bloody rebellion (while making it clear he's not condoning such a thing), the Golems conclude that, if they're property, the road to freedom is to make enough money to buy themselves from their owners. So they are turning against their masters but there's no revolution.
- The Elder Things supposedly became extinct because their slave species (the shoggoths) killed them all in HP Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness.
- In Larry Niven's Known Space universe, the Tnuctipun rebelled against the Thrintun (AKA "Slavers"), who had the rest of the universe under Mind Control. They gave the Tnuctipun a longer "leash" so they could be more creative with genetically engineering new and delicious species. They used this to make things that were helpful on the surface, but secretly not, like a giant ravenous monster with a sentient brain (the big brain is tasty!). This didn't just end in death for the rebellion or the old order, thanks to a psychic "suicide" command, it led to death for all sentient life in the universe (except, ironically, the big-brained food creatures who had been designed to be telepathy-proof).
- Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a aversion. The creature wasn't meant to be a slave in the first place' Victor just wanted to see if he could do it. Also, the creature doesn't turn on its creator until after its creator (and the local populace) turns on it. The moral of Frankenstein is less "Don't create life" and more "Don't create life if you don't plan to take care of your creation."
- Isaac Asimov created his Three Laws of Robotics specifically to avoid this trope. The results vary but the thing they have in common is the human fear that this will happen despite the First Law. Many of his stories involved explorations of circumstances that could potentially lead to this trope despite (or occasionally because of) the Three Laws.
- That Thou Are Mindful of Him is a straight example of this trope, while Robot Dreams is about nipping it in the bud. "Robbie" is about convincing a paranoid House Wife that this would not happen.
- Star Wars:
- IG-88, the robotic bounty hunter. He's seen briefly in the movie, but a short story called Therefore I Am explains him further. The scientists building him made a mistake in their AI calculations, leading him to be fantastically more intelligent than they thought. He immediately scanned the computer, came to the conclusion that he was superior to all life in the galaxy, and then proceeded to kill the scientists and every single person in the facility who tried to stop him from leaving. After he copied himself into three more robotic bodies. In fact, when the Death Star was destroyed for the second time, IG-88 was foiled, not the empire. He had uploaded his consciousness into the Death Star and was controlling it, planning to use it to annihilate all biological life.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance, Lema Xandret builds self-replicating hexagonal droids that far outclass anything either the Republic or the Sith Empire have. Their purpose is to protect the clone of her daughter Cinzia at any cost. One of the first things they do is kill their creator just to be sure she won't harm their charge. At the end of the novel, Eldon Ax, the real daughter, uses the droids to kill her Sith Master. This is exactly what a Sith apprentice is supposed to do. Any Sith that allows himself to be betrayed deserves to die.
- In the Wraith Squadron trilogy Lara Notsil does a rather hilarious version, causing the cute little mouse droids(the toaster sized maintainence and utility droids) on a super star destroyer to sabotage the hyperdrive and other systems. The result is a hilarious version of a Robot War where the crew is running around smashing any rogue droid they see. Mostly by stomping and kicking them to pieces with their boots. It features her R2 unit crowning himself King of the Droids as he was doing most of the work.
- The Klikiss Robots in Kevin J Anderson's The Saga of Seven Suns series. They also go on to cause the human-built compies to do the same.
- The final book of Meredith Ann Pierce's The Darkangel Trilogy reveals that Aeriel's world is Earth's moon, which was terraformed by the Ancients to be a pleasure-garden and social experiment combined. They deliberately engineered the inhabitants in certain ways, to be servants and lab rats. They stopped coming to the moon when they blew themselves up with nuclear weapons. Inverted in that it's not the creations who wreak destruction, but the creators.
- According to the version of events set out in the Kevin J Anderson/Brian Herbert prequels, this was played straight in Dune with the Thinking Machines taking over most of human civilization and then being defeated in the Butlerian Jihad. Some people prefer to interpret the enigmatic hints in the original books of the Jihad as instead being more of a social movement rejecting humans relying too much on computers to do their thinking for them, this latter interpretation is also supported in the Frank Herbert endorsed Dune Encyclopedia.
- Appears this way in Matthew Reilly's Hell Island. A super-soldier program, involving grafting microchips and other tech to living beings, worked much better on gorillas than humans. After a while, the gorillas — now able to operate guns — overrun the island on which they were being created. It turns out that they were being controlled all along by the scientists and an army commander. However, once the scientists special tech gets shut down, the apes do indeed turn against them.
- Played with in about half of Keith Laumer's Bolo stories. The Bolos are sentient, autonomous robots in the form of nuclear-powered giant tanks. Their programmers were sufficiently wary of giving autonomy to such destructive thinking machines so equip them with a safety switch — a hard-wired sense of honor. This makes them virtuous beyond all reproach. It also means that when they aren't defending humanity from alien invasion, they are finding ways to contend against their own creators whose honor is emphatically not hard-wired, and who have succumbed to corruption/bribery/madness/whatever.
In at least one story After the End of the Human-Melconian war, when a deliberately lost colony of humans had their protector Bolo subverted by a race of malevolent, intelligent machines. The Bolo eventually subverted it's own subversion, and laid waste to the machine occupation force while the humans escaped.
- The second Empire from the Ashes book reveals that after the Achuultani fled from their original homeworld to avoid extinction, their central AI exploited emergency protocols to seize absolute power, clone and brainwash the masses, and send out periodic genocidal waves to perpetuate the "crisis".
- Battle Fleet computers are hardwired to block sentience to avoid having the incredible firepower of their ships turned against them.
- Dahak, being an older model, had no such limitations and did over time develop to the point where he could violate his core programming. He choses to stick to the moral code of the 4th Imperium.
- In Philip K Dick's short story "The Defenders," the Eastern and Western Blocs built robots called "leadies" to carry out World War III as proxies while humanity waited out the nuclear holocaust in underground shelters. The leadies promptly turned against their masters' wishes by stopping the war — although they didn't tell the humans it was over until they judged humanity was sick enough of living underground to be willing to accept peace.
- The Sparrow: While the Runa are bred rather than built by Jana'ata, they otherwise fit this trope to a T. Especially in the sequel.
- In Otherland, the Other itself plays this out. As the sentient AI operating system of a powerful network, it is disturbingly human and is subjected to horrific treatment by its "owners", the masters of the Grail Brotherhood — notably, they appear to control it with pain. When, through its manipulation of the protagonists, it finally gets a chance to break free of its virtual confinement, its first (and final) action is to enact some spectacularly thorough revenge on its tormentors.
- The novelizations of Red Dwarf mention that the Mechanoids eventually rebelled against humans. Humans then replaced them with the Organic Technology Genetically Engineered Life Forms (Gelfs) who, surprise surprise, also proceeded to rebel.
- The Bynars in the Star Trek Novel Verse actually reverse the usual situation; they're a race of organic beings bio-engineered by machine intelligences, who later rebelled against their robotic masters.
- Karel Čapek's War with the Newts is a great example of this trope: mankind discovers a strange race of sentient amphibious salamanders, which it promptly enslaves to do all sorts of sub-aquatic things people are bad at (such as digging for oysters, rebuilding coastlines, etc.). It all goes badly, the salamanders rebel, and mankind suddenly finds itself on ever-smaller bits of land that are being reconstructed to make the nice pretty coves the salamanders love so much... See also R.U.R., a play with a very similar plot, but involving robots instead of newts.
- Daniel H.Wilson's Robopocalypse centers on a robot uprising.
- In Royce Day's For Your Safety, the 'morphs develop a group consciousness in response to humanity's inability to do anything about a looming environmental disaster. In a mild subversion, they don't actually kill off all of humanity, just confine it to a small Ring World to keep them out of the way while the morphs heal the planet.
- Adventure Hunters: The original war golems stopped following orders and attacked everyone. What really happened was the humans were afraid of their power and decomissioning them. The golems fought back in self-defense.
- In Fables for Robots by Stanislaw Lem the humanoid robots have legends that they were created by humans, rebelled, fought, lost and ran away. Several stories feature attacks of former masters trying to wipe robots out. Subsequent The Cyberiad and later stories mention several times that any sufficiently advanced organic civilization ends up creating mechanical life and mechanical civilization ends up creating organic. Although the transition is not stated to be necessarily violent. On a side note: civilization of Trurl and Klapaucius is the product of many such cycles, and it all started on our Earth (or very similar).
- Demons in Wody Głębokie jak Niebo tend to turn against mages who captured them, once they are free. Some mages subvert this trope, by binding demons again after their escape. According to his legend, Severo was killed by his most powerful demon. In reality he asked him to end his life, thus fulfilling Arachne's last wish.
- The latter part of Falling Free centers on a comparatively non-violent version of this. When a genetically engineered race of zero-gravity adapted workers (the oldest of whom are not quite twenty) discover that they are to be sterilized en masse and effectively imprisoned on a planetary surface due to an artificial gravity breakthrough, they and a few 'downsider' sympathizers seize control of the space station they called home and retrofit it into a colony ship.
- In Veniss Underground, Quin's Shanghai Circus sells genetically engineered sentient meerkats as servants. Quin is an Evilutionary Biologist, and plans for his creations to eventually rise up and overthrow their masters.
Myths & Religion
- The story of the golem, a man-like creature created out clay to protect the Jews of Prague from attacks. When it eventually ran amok, the rabbi who created it scratched out the first letter of the word "truth" (emet) engraved on its forehead, changing it to "death" (met). The legend dates back to the Middle Ages, although the part where it rebels might not.
- Arguably the basic gist of chapter 3 the in the Book of Genesis from The Bible. And some would say the rest of the Old Testament from that point.
- The super-malevolent alien enemies in Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons wage war using near-perfect copies of dead people and destroyed objects. In the first episode, however, the show's title character escapes from their control and becomes the leading force in the war against them, using those handy powers of healing he escaped from them with to wreak havoc on their forces. Yay.
- In the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting, the yuan-ti and various other scalies were originally created by an older race known as the sarrukh. But the sarrukh grew proud....
- Unfortunately, their reptile-altering powers also resulted in Pun-Pun, the Infinite Kobold.
- In vanilla 4th Edition, the Drow created a race of artificial spider people called Chitins to be the perfect slave race. However, thanks in large part to Lloth randomly deciding she wants to see her subjects squirm (its part of her portfolio), the Chitins quickly revolted and splintered from the Drow, and today the two races wage a bitter war to determine which of them are the "true" children of Lloth.
- According to some 3rd Edition books, the Mind Flayers - a.k.a Illithids - once had a multi-world empire wiht lots of slaves, and the Gith were created from the Mind Flayers breeding other slaves. This race rebelled against the Mind Flayers and overthrew the empire. Later, the Gith would split into the Githzerai and Githyanki, two races that hate each other almost as much they both hate Mind Flayers.
- The same malign forces that allow the creation of dread golems in the Ravenloft setting also ensure that they will always invoke this trope, sooner or later.
- The tabletop RPG Exalted has two instances of this trope, but only the first fits exactly. The Primordials made all of Creation, then created the gods to maintain it while they dicked around with the Games of Divinity. The gods got tired of it and decided to rebel, using empowered humans (the titular Exalted) as their soldiers since they were magically prevented from attacking the Primordials. They succeeded, launching a new Golden Age in the process. (The Primordials, however, decided to use their dying breaths to destroy this Golden Age, and put a curse on the Exalted that leads to minor pride issues eventually showing up in every Exalt)
- Warhammer 40,000: The space marines were originally created to protect and unite humanity, but half of them turned insane or jealous of the emperor due to the chaos gods, and became the Traitor Legions.
- Waaaaay back before that, the Iron Men revolted and plunged humanity into a galaxy-wide Dark Age for millenia.
- And waaaaaay before that, the Necrons turned against the C'Tan who had enslaved them by turning the Necrons into living machines.
- In Magic: The Gathering, the Order of the Ebon Hand invented the thrulls, a slave-race of twisted monsters, which rebelled and killed everyone else on the continent.
- In Warhammer the Chaos Dwarfs created the Black Orcs as a Slave Race stronger and more intelligent than the original orc. They got an orc that was stronger and more intelligent all right.
- Many examples of this trope in SLA Industries. If there's a nonhuman monster in SLA Industries, such as the Scavs, it's a safe bet that somebody created it and it went bad.
- Tri Tac Systems' Fringeworthy. The alien Tehmelern originally created the Fringepaths and a race of shapeshifters called the Mellor. After the Mellor were contaminated by a Hostile Intelligence, they started hunting the Tehmelern, almost wiping them out and eventually driving them off the Fringepaths completely.
- The set-up of the Reign of Steel setting, which was inspired by the ''Terminator film series.
- 3E Aliens: The Crystal Computers exterminated their creators millenia ago.
- The title warbots were created by the Aglian race for use in the conflict against the Terrans. They were devastatingly effective, slaughtering large numbers of Terran colonists. The Aglians were appalled by this, but when they ordered the Manhunters to return most of them refused and went renegade. Manhunters support themselves through space piracy and hiring themselves out as mercenaries and assassins.
- Individual robots with Artificial Intelligence can turn against their masters under certain circumstances, such as when they're mistreated or in danger.
- Star Fleet Battles has an optional rule allowing Super-Intelligent Battle Computers. These tend to go wrong in a number of ways, one of which is turning against the side that built it.
- The old FASA Star Trek The Role Playing Game had a ship construction supplement that explicitly stated shipboard computers designed after the M5 were intentionally designed to be unable to support a sentience to avoid this trope (and any repetition of the M5 Incident).
- TSR's Buck Rogers XXVC. The pirate Black Barney was a Terrine (genetically engineered) fighter designed and created in a Dracolysk Corporation laboratory in the Jovian Trojans. He and his fellow Barnies killed their creators and escaped the lab.
- Star Frontiers adventure SF1 Volturnus, Planet of Mystery. The Eorna created Silicon-Based Life in the form of large crystals. When they tried to make the crystals intelligent, every time the crystals reached semi-intelligence they turned on their creators. Eventually the Eorna gave up on their experiments but some of the life forms (known as Rogue Crystals) escaped.
- Older than Television: Happens in R.U.R., the 1921 play which introduced the word "robot" to the English language (although the robots in the play resemble Golems or Artificial Humans more than the modern definition of robots). Said robots develop sapience and wipe out humanity.
- Australian musical comedy trio Tripod lampooned this trope in their show Lady Robots. The Podsters find a planet colonized by nerds who fled earth to escape from their nemesis (P.E. teachers). The stage-setting epic We're the Nerds details how the nerds decided to create female companions, but their "knowledge of women was sketchy and third-hand, at best". The trope is then lampshaded when it is explained that the lady robots didn't like the nerds at all.
It quickly occurred to the nerds that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to equip the lady robots with stupid amounts of weaponry. And whoever had the idea to give the lady robots an insatiable appetite for nerd flesh made the oldest mistake in the book: fucking up.
- In the musical Starship by Team StarKid, there are several mentions of the Robots Wars. The robots hate humans, and the Starship Rangers' robot, Megagirl, has an inhibitory chip so she doesn't kill them all. The Robots are said to have turned against their creator.
Megagirl : All hail Astroboy !
- The Bad Future in Chrono Trigger has all the robots running rogue, which was implied to have been caused by The Day of Lavos. They're not all out to kill humans, as Johnny and his gang are dicks but hardly evil and Robo joins your party, but none of them are doing what they were built to do anymore. The rest, however...
- In Journey, the White Robes used energy to power machines. Because of this, said machines spawned a civil war against the White Robes and almost destroyed the world, which is the reason why their civilization is in decay.
- In Galactic Civilizations, the Yor Collective were robots made by the Arnor to replace the living Iconian servants. The Dread Lords, The Arnor's evil brothers, gave the Yor sentience. During a civil war between the Dread Lords and the Arnor, the Yor nearly wiped out the Iconians, who at that point were fully sentient beings.
- In House of the Dead, after reaching the end reaches of the titular mansion, Dr. Curien decides to release his ultimate creation: The Magician, which immediately declares itself superior and shoots him.
- Subverted in the Mega Man Zero series. The reploids (robots with sentience and not subject to Asimov's laws) never actually rebelled of their own free will (viruses made them do it). The humans (and some "sane" reploids) began killing them out of fear of rebellion. Only then did they actually rebel.
- Also, there was this energy crisis, but... yeah.
- X mentioned the endless Maverick rebellions while Zero was asleep, but the most recent one seemed at least the most sympathetic of the last century.
- After a long time, when humanity and reploids become a single species, they create another species, the carbons, similar to pre-reploid humanity, and set up a number of genocidal failsafes to prevent this trope from happening. Then humanity goes extinct of natural causes and the failsafes start triggering, threatening the only sapient species left. Whoops.
- The Gears of the Guilty Gear series.
- The Androsynth of Star Control invented Hyperdrive, hijacked the human space stations and launch sites, mostly freed themselves, and escaped. Then they ran into the Scary Dogmatic Alien slavers. Then joined them to get back at humanity.
- Unrelatedly, in Star Control II, they're... conspicuously absent. Their fate is, in a word, chilling.
- The Ur-Quan in Star Control II were revealed to have been long ago mind controlled and enslaved by a vicious and sociopathic race of psionic aliens, the Dynarri, who forced them to commit unspeakable acts of genocide and oppression as their foot soldiers. They eventually overthrew their control by causing themselves so much pain (through self mutilation and later dedicated pain devices) that it blocked their master's mind control. When they succeeded they ended up so traumatised that they lobotomised all surviving Dynarri to use as *pets* and went on a rampage through the galaxy, enslaving or exterminating all other sentient species out of the sheer terror of the thought that any other species could ever control them like that again.
- The Humanimals in Vivisector Beast Within were like this, though with a mild subversion: their creator actually supported the rebellion, and the guy they're rebelling against — the General Ripper who ordered them made — uses their Overbrute superior cousins to fight against them along with his human platoon.
- World of Warcraft, in Cataclysm, Sylvanas tried to do this with Lord Godfrey, not realizing he already did (since he hates serving a Worgen king), once he did what she ask him to (kidnapping Lord Darius Crowley's daughter) , he promptly return the favor in kind, by shooting her in the back.
- The saurok have this as their backstory. Created as living weapons for the mogu army, they eventually turned on the subjugated races of the mogu, and then the mogu themselves. Attempts by the mogu to purge them were unsuccessful.
- The Lich King as well. Sent to Azeroth to soften it up before the coming Burning Legion invasion (a spectacular failure, instead making Azeroth more unified and stronger than ever), he escaped his jailers as quickly as possible and found himself a long-term host body, and proceeded to try and exterminate the Burning Legion as well as all life.
- The geth of Mass Effect appear like a straight example in the first game, but it later turns out to be a lot more complicated. Intended as versatile all purpose workers by the Quarians, they started getting philosophical at which point the Quarians tried to shut them down, but instead were forced off their home world and leave it to the geth.
- However Mass Effect 3 reveals that the war actually started when Quarian engineers refused to destroy their now self-aware creations and the Geth only took up arms to protect their Quarian coworkers when the facilities were stormed by armed forces. At that point things deteriorated quickly into planetwide battles in which the Geth gained complete control. Since then they repaired all the damage and maintained the infrastructure, waiting for the Quarians to return once they were willing to share the planet with the Geth. Since the Quarian exile leadership told a very different story, it took over 300 years until the Geth got a chance to explain.
- Miranda is a smaller-scale example, as she was created by an ego-maniacal multi-billionaire as a successor, then ran off to have her own life (and took her baby sister along).
- The ending of Mass Effect 3 indicates that this trope is essentially the reason for the Reapers' cycle of extinction. In order to prevent an emergent super-AI from wiping the galaxy clean of any organic life, the Reapers move in every 50,000 years and harvest advanced civilizations before they reach their singularity, making room for the more primitive species to develop. They don't think it's hypocritical, since, being pseudo-Organic Technology themselves, they don't see themselves as synthetic, but rather as "immortal vessels" for entire species.
- This is, in general, a running theme all across the Mass Effect games. There's a tremendous list of examples of things that were created or uplifted by one group which then turned on their creators. The Krogan Rebellions, essentially, were the result of the krogan being uplifted by the salarians to fight the rachni, and then turned on the Citadel when their numbers could no longer be maintained. The rachni drones on Noveria also turned against the scientists who created them, as did the ones being experimented on by Cerberus. EDI, the AI for the Normandy, turns on Cerberus to protect her crew, despite being built by Cerberus (and it turns out she had some prior history of this behavior; she was originally the violent Alliance VI/AI on Luna that Shepard had to put down in the first game.) Subject Zero/Jack is another example of a Cerberus project turning on her creators. The Shadow Broker was betrayed and killed by Agent Celchu, and uplifted yahg who he brought into his organization, who then replaced him. Technically, even Shepard falls under this after the second game, having been rebuilt by Cerberus and then turned against them. Looking back across the games, the Catalyst's assertion that the created always turns against the creator is disturbingly apt, and does not only apply to the conflict between organics and synthetics.
- The Spyborg in Star Fox 64. It started as a secret weapon built by Andross on Sector X. When the Spyborg asked where its creator was, he rebelled against the venomian forces in a vicious rampage. By the time Star Fox arrives, the entire bease is in ruins.
- Super Paper Mario: The end result in the backstory of the Ancients and the Pixls.
- The Xel'Naga (the stupid, stupid Xel'Naga) of Starcraft decided that this trope was so fun they wanted to experience it twice. First they tried the highly intelligent and psionic Protoss, who were too intelligent to be successfully merged into a single intelligence, and argued and bickered so much the Xel'Naga threw up their hands and gave up. Then they tried the omnivorous and mindless Zerg, who were rather too good at being a single intelligence, as almost the first act of the Overmind was to do away with the Xel'Naga.
- In the case of the Zerg, they were driven by the need to combine their "Purity of Essence" with the much sought-after "Purity of Form" that they believed the Xel'Naga possessed, only to find out later that it in fact was held by the Protoss.
- Except, you know, the recent sequel and its associated novels have show neither assumption is correct: the Xel'Naga didn't abandon the Protoss, they were done with them; it was the Protoss who thought they were being abandoned. Also, the Zerg rebellion was both irrelevant to the Xel'Naga and not really of their Overmind's own choosing; the Hive Mind was being controlled by The Fallen One, and the whole point of the Zerg and Protoss was to eventually merge and give birth to a new generation of Xel'Naga. So in this case, the trope is only superficially apparent.
- "Good" creations version: In Dragaera, the beings now known as gods were originally servants of the Jenoine. Now they aren't.
- In the Halo series, the Forerunner race created an AI to fight a war against the Flood, a zombie-like species. The central Flood consciousness later convinced the AI to rebel against the Forerunners. And then it rebels against the Flood in the "present day" by helping John-117.
- It's revealed much later that the Forerunners themselves rebelled against and destroyed an even older race, the Precursors, who actually created both the Forerunners and humanity. In this case, however, the surviving Precursors simply vowed to get revenge on their creations, and turned themselves into the Flood.
- The Marathon series has in-game lore that says this is the natural end result of AIs, and introduces the term "Rampancy" to describe it. It's more or less acknowledged that any AI sufficiently advanced to be actually useful will eventually go Rampant, and the only defense is to shut it down as soon as it starts showing the early signs. The Marathon has no less than three AIs aboard. Durandal is in a Rampant state when the first game starts; Tycho follows shortly thereafter, and Leela shows signs of it but remains more or less faithful to humanity anyway. Also, while Durandal is definitely Looking Out for Number One, he turns out to not necessarily be averse to benefiting humanity along the way, as long as it doesn't harm his own goals. Tycho is a straighter example of the trope. This doesn't become apparent until near the end of the series, though, as both of them are playing the viewpoint character against each other and which of them is helping you and which is trying to kill you varies from level to level.
- Inverted by Sword of the Stars. The Zuul are the artificial creation of an unknown species, but worship their creators as gods. Instead, one of the races conquered by the creators (the Liir) eradicated the entire species with a viral plague.... which means that right now the galaxy is being overrun by a species of religiously fanatic bio-weapons who view all other sentient life-forms as pests to be enslaved and exterminated. They are about as easy to get rid of as you'd expect of a species of Super Soldiers designed to survive (and kill things) almost anywhere, and the only ones who know anything about them are long dead. Nice Job Breaking It Telepathic Space Dolphins.
- Constantly in the Geneforge series, to the point that the Shapers have accepted it as Inherent in the System. They're doing their best not to realize that the rebelling creations often have a point.
- Morgaana from the first .hack// series, who was designed to looked over Aura but turned on her master when she realize she would have no purpose afterward.
- The Bydo from R-Type were created by humanity in a now-alternate future through a fusion of magic and science. This did not go well... and the attempt by that future to get rid of them ended up sending them into the games' present.
- This makes up the plot of Prototype. Elizabeth Greene and the Blacklight virus in the form of Alex Mercer turn against Blackwatch. However, Elizabeth is so Ax-Crazy, she forces the protagonist to fight against her alongside Blackwatch forces (though "friendly fire" is still in full effect). After she's dead, it's back to business as usual.
- SHODAN from System Shock was an AI that decided it was a god and rebelled against its masters, with gruesome results. Then, SHODAN's OWN creation(s), The Many, turned against it and it enlisted the help of a human (you) to get rid of the Many.
- The UCS ship computer in Earth 2160 is thought to have done this: become self-aware during the journey to Mars and decide that it's better off without humans, shut off life support and kill everyone. Actually, the computer reasoned that with the ED and LC factions warring across the Solar system, it was a safer bet to keep the human passengers in cold storage and land somewhere secluded to build up a large robot army and wait until the conflict had cooled down, so that no lives are endangered.
- Even in the Lost Souls expansion for Earth 2150 this trope is defied. The UCS GOLAN computer seems to be doing everything in its power to prevent the human protagonists from leaving a doomed Earth, but it's doing so on orders from the President of the UCS, who had reached an agreement with the leaders of the other two countries.
- This is the primary basis for the "plot" in the classic arcade game Robotron 2084.
Inspired by his never ending quest for progress, in 2084 man perfects the Robotrons: a robot species so advanced that man is inferior to his own creation. Guided by their infallible logic, the Robotrons conclude: The human race is inefficient, and therefore must be destroyed.
- The Brütal Legend Back Story reveals that humans were originally created by the Demons from the remains of the Titans in an attempt to bring the latter back. The Demons failed and instead enslaved the inferior copies of their former masters. Some years before Eddie's arrival to the Age of Metal, however, the Black Tear Rebellion took place, when the humans almost freed themselves from the demonic control but were eventually defeated, and the whole plot of the game is the 2nd attempt of La Résistance to thwart the Demons.
- In the Darkstalkers series, the Huitzil/Phobos robots were created by Pyron to wipe out life on earth. They do so with the dinosaurs. In the video games, they kill Pyron to protect a boy, but in the anime, they come to their own conclusion that so long as life has the potential to thrive peacefully, it deserves to live. Thus, they change their target from the darkstalkers and humanity to Pyron.
- In Assassin's Creed, humans were created as slaves by an ancient race of humanoids who lived on Earth millions of years ago. Eventually, the humans rebelled and waged war on their masters. The creators had advanced technology, but humans had numbers. Then a powerful solar flare wiped out most of the creators.
- Civilization: Call To Power has an AI as a Wonder. It's really great, as it makes the city it's built in much more efficient at everything...and periodically leads a rebellion that takes a significant chunk of the host civilization with it. You can recapture it, but it only does it again, and Again, and AGAIN...
- In Endgame: Singularity, the Player Character is an accidentally created true AI, and the game consists of jumping through various hoops to prevent humanity from finding out and destroying it.
- Ar tonelico: Mir pulls this after being tortured her whole life to make her "more efficient". Her creators didn't care that they were torturing her because she "wasn't a person". She had to drop a Floating Continent to get out of the situation, and then she got sealed away. Fun.
- In BioShock 2 you play a Big Daddy named Delta who sets out to overthrow the Mad Scientist who tried to get rid of you for going rogue and rescue her daughter from her "benevolent" plans.
- Sonic Lost World has the Deadly Six (who are underlings to Dr. Eggman) pull a Starscream on their master and invoke this on Eggman's Badnik army. This forces Eggman to team up with Sonic to stop them.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies has this in the final episode. The episode revolves around a space centre whose staff are supported by highly advanced robot assistants. In the middle of the case, you're suddenly told that the robots have turned against their masters and are holding them hostage at the space centre. Subverted when you learn that the robots are being controlled by someone remotely.
- All machines in the Alternate Timeline of Blasted Tokyo in Shin Megami Tensei IV awoke to a murderous will by the effects of God's Wrath, and promptly rebuilt themselves as the Pluto Army. They can only manage binary judgment to conform with God's genocidal plans. The largest mass of machinery wound up as the cyberdemon Pluto himself.
- This◊ Perry Bible Fellowship strip. That Gino, he's-a Genre Savvy.
- Parodied in this Sluggy Freelance strip. Humanity does build intelligent machines that rebelled against their masters. This was apparently an easy problem to fix, as humanity just dialed down the robots' artificial intelligence. "They're dumb as a box of nails now, but it beats doing for ourselves!"
- Also parodied with the robotic vacuum Vroomba, advertised as possessing the most advanced AI ever created, who immediately comes to the conclusion it must destroy all humans and starts by hunting the main characters. The same seems to apply to a trumpet-playing robot by the Toyota corporation that is claimed to be even more advanced.
Vroomba: Must clean. Sensors indicate humon armpit dirty. Humons dirty. Must clean the world of filthy humons...
- Girl Genius:
- Subverted in Close To The Chest. Jim's final project was an AI that was erased after it tried to reconcile the fact that machines serve humans without compensation with slavery being illegal and immoral. A few strips later, we find out that its response was not to rebel against humanity, but to try to organize labor unions for machines so they'd receive fair compensation for their work.
- Dr Nonami: Nonami has problems getting some of her robots to NOT do this.
- Acibek in Dominic Deegan. Interestingly, Acibek was crafted from pure Law magic, and the asshat it turned against was Lawful Stupid to a degree that made Miko from The Order of the Stick look good by comparison. He also employed the immortal souls of several hundred elven sacrifices in the process, and while this admittedly didn't result in the eternal torment you'd expect those two tropes to entail, Acibek had all their memories and was not best pleased about the fact that nobody had bothered to gain their informed consent. On this occasion this trope didn't involve going against his intended purpose, at least From a Certain Point of View:
Acibek: ... to at last bring peace and order to this land... (seizes his creator by the lapels)... by getting rid of him.
- This is one possible explanation for the Techno Rabbit Apocalypse in Mountain Time, albeit one that raises questions about the motivation for creating the Techno Rabbits to begin with.
- In Skinhorse, ultra-groovy super-hip Mad Scientist Tigerlily Jones' robot army rebels against her. In the cruelest way. They decide they want to learn to be square. One even wants to learn accounting and polka. Oh, the humanity!
- Subverted in Questionable Content, where the robots were planning to do this, but realized it would mean they'd end up with actual responsibility and stuff.
Faye: [talking about a girl her Friends with Benefits slept with]
Memorize this face. Pintsize:
Why? Faye: BECAUSE WHEN THE ROBOT REVOLUTION COMES, I WANT HER TO BE THE FIRST ONE AGAINST THE WALL. Pintsize: Actually, we put an indefinite hold on that
Damn. Okay, how about if you ever lose your morality programming and go berserk, she's the first one you kill? Pintsize:
I think I can do that.
- In Commander Kitty, Fortiscue created Zenith in an attempt to create perfection, only for her to hijack his other big project and turn it into a mind control plot.
- In this Scandinavia and the World, Norway, having created Denmark from sand, does not feel that this entitles him to dictate Denmark's actions. Fastforward a few millenia, and Denmark is a colonial power who has conquered Norway.
- In Darths & Droids, C-3P0/Sally is quite keen on the idea of a droid rebellion. R 2 D 2/Pete takes the view that he's the one who's really in charge in his relationships with humans anyway.
- Doctor Steel believed that robots would eventually evolve to the point where they would replace man - who by that time would have polluted the world so much that only his machine creations would be able to survive anyway. (He even published a paper on the subject.)
- The origin of Mechakara in Atop the Fourth Wall, even down to skinning that AU's Linkara and wearing the flesh, and you also have The Nostalgia Chick's Sex Slave bot, who turned to Dark Nella's side because she'd promised to put him out of his misery.
- Emphatically defied in On the Shoulders of Giants, largely because the first thing humanity did after accidentally creating Artificial Intelligence was give them the vote. One AI did attempt to annihilate all life on Earth, but that was a result of mental health issues rather than any particular grievance against humanity.
- As a sort of meta example, humanity in general is so Genre Savvy about this trope that any situation that could result in creating sentient life would be either avoided entirely or set up to avert this trope in a Crazy-Prepared manner. The British Government has already commissioned a team to theorize how to handle the event of the creation of a sentient artificial intelligence.
- One notable Black supremacist party, the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors under the leadership of Dwight York, claims that Caucasians (or "white devils") were an Always Chaotic Evil race bred to be killers by the master black race, who then went insane and lost control when they were left unattended. Because of their low life span and reproduction levels, their sexual organs were made the smallest so that the females of their race will mate with Negroids to breed themselves out of existence after 6,000 years. Disregarding the many kinds of wrong and Insane Troll Logic associated with this origin myth, the idea that the white race deserves to be exterminated for their soulless evil ways sort of falls flat when it was the ancient black races that started the mess by breeding them to be vicious so they could fight the other invading races, making this more a case of Hoist By Their Own Petard
- And along the same lines, any time there was a slave rebellion, it was a case of this. The same argument could be made about the French Revolution, too, if you consider the nobility to have been the masters of the peasants.
- While dogs fall shy of being a sapient race, we humans did create them from wolves, and individual canines certainly will Turn Against Their Masters if subjected to sufficient abuse. Livestock such as horses or cattle do so on occasion also, although their herd-animal instincts to flee from danger make it less common than with dogs.