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Whenever you come across an AI, sufficiently-expansive computer program, or robot, it is likely to have a name disproportionally consisting of ALLCAPS (sometimes with L33t L1ng0 sprinkled in in place of letters). As it turns out this is not just for show; very often the AI's name is actually an (often easily pronounceable) acronym for a much longer actual name that's at least tangentially related to its primary function(s).


Reminder: for an acronym to qualify it must be related to the AI/program's function. Remember to add context regarding such, even if it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.

Sub-Trope of Fun with Acronyms, Meaningful Name, Names Given to Computers, and Robot Names.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Sword Art Online: Alice's name in the Alicization arc is derived from RATH's goal to create an Artificial Labile Intelligent Cybernated Existence. In other words, an A.I. advanced enough to emulate human behavior at full.

    Comic Books 
  • Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X has an A.I. named A.L.A.N. (though typically spelled without periods), an Automatic Learning Algorithm Network named for his creator, Alan Turing. He's a computer that produces work upon inputs according to instructions, but was also designed to create his own instructions and choose his own inputs. Unfortunately for the world, he was left alone for 50+ years and falls under A.I. Is a Crapshoot.


  • In D.A.R.Y.L., the Character Title stands for Data Analyzing Robot Youth Lifeform, which is a longer way of saying Robot Kid.
  • The Iron Man movies turn Tony Stark's butler Jarvis into a computer/onboard AI named J.A.R.V.I.S. The novelization reveals that it's "Just A Rather Very Intelligent System".
  • I, Robot: The massive positronic computer brain that operates U.S. Robotics is called the Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence, or V.I.K.I. for short. She is capable of projecting a holographic interface to communicate with the employees.
  • HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) from 2001: A Space Odyssey - It's technically a HAL 9000, but no others ever appeared in the series. (It has been rumored that HAL was named in homage to IBM, with each letter of the corporate initials replaced with the alphabetically previous one, but the filmmakers denied this.)
  • In Wargames, the supercomputer put in charge of NORAD's missiles is called the War Operation Plan Response, or WOPR. Though its AI component is called "Joshua", after its programmer's dead son.
  • AMEE ("Autonomous Mapping Exploration and Evasion") from the science fiction film Red Planet, is a former military scouting robot, sent into places on its own and expected to avoid detection while exploring the area its deployed in. Really should have disabled the 'military' part before going on a civilian mission.
  • Zigzagged by The robots in Short Circuit who belong to the SAINT (Strategic Artificially Intelligent Nuclear Transport) line and were originally pitched as robotic nuclear suicide bombers - they kept the SAINT designation even after being repurposed for less self-destructive purposes like normal warfare leaving their acronyms a case of Artifact Title.
  • The titular artificial woman from the film S1m0ne is, in fact, Sim(ulation) One.
  • Most of the robots from WALL•E have acronyms describing their function:
    • WALL-E - Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth class; it exists to move waste from one area to the next by way of highly compact cubes
    • EVE - Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator - exists to look for viable plant life on planets
    • M-O - Microbe Obliterator - is a decontamination unit.

  • In The Crystal Maze spin-off gamebook, the robotic host of the futuristic version of the show is named R.O.B. We're not told what this stands for, but he's described in terms that make him sound like original host Richard O'Brien.
  • Dragonriders of Pern featured a computer named "AIVAS" (Artificial Intelligence Voice-Address System) - capable of communicating with its users via a Badass Baritone voice module.
  • The titular HARLIE in David Gerrold's When HARLIE Was One is a Human Analog Replication, Lethetic Intelligence Engine (or Human Analog Robot Life Input Equivalents, in the first edition). He's a RidiculouslyHumanRobot and the story is mainly about whether or not that actually makes him human
  • I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream: The World War III supercomputer that became self-aware and malevolent and wiped out human civilization has a name that started as an AI-Cronym, passed through a few Backronyms, and settled on an Appropriated Appellation:
    Gorrister: At first it meant Allied Mastercomputer, and then it meant Adaptive Manipulator, and later on it developed sentience and linked itself up and they called it an Aggressive Menace, but by then it was too late, and finally it called itself AM, and what it meant was "I am"...
  • Vadim Shefner's Kovrigins Chronicles: Various robots and devices are given an acronym for a name, sometimes in a manner where the whole name is consistent with the purpose as well. For example, a portable medical diagnostic unit is named has a name which translates as 'An Electronic Rapid Concilium Which Points Out To The Treating Person Completely Correct Methods Of Aid'. The acronym translates as Aesculappp.
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. The main computer running Luna City is a HOLMES IV. The HOLMES stands for "High-Optional, Logical, Multi-Evaluating Supervisor". It is capable of using its knowledge and logic to make decisions about carrying out its functions, and spontaneously becomes self-aware.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In season 4, Radcliffe's assistant Aida is an android. It's not until the end of the season that her name is revealed to stand for Artificially Intelligent Digital Assistant, a somewhat ironic name because she technically wasn't AI at first.
  • Big Time Rush: The talking coffee-machine in "Big Time Jobs" is named C.A.L, which is both an acronym for "Coffee Assistant Liaison" and a Shout-Out to HAL-9000.
  • Countdown's computer is called Cecil, which turns out to mean Countdown's Electronic Calculator In Leeds (where the show is filmed).
  • Doctor Who had a couple of "mad computer" villains whose creators really should have worried more about nominative determinism: WOTAN (Will Operating Thought ANalogue, referring to its status as an abstract experiment in AI) from "The War Machines" and BOSS (Bi(o)morphic Organisational Systems Supervisor, a computer initially intended to run a chemical factory but which promptly took over the whole company) from "The Green Death".
    • Missy claimed she was Mobile Intelligence Systems Interface.
  • Parodied on Friends with C.H.E.E.S.E.:
    Joey: I'm up for the part of Mac Macaveli or "Mac". I'm a detective and I solve crimes with the help of my robot partner. He's a Computerized Humanoid Electronically Enhanced Secret Enforcer or "C.H.E.E.S.E."
    Rachel: So... Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.?
    Joey:That's the title! Yeah! You know, they really lucked out that the initials spell cheese.
    Chandler: That is lucky.
  • From Knight Rider:
    • The protagonist, a talking car, is a downplayed example — it's is called K.I.T.T. which means 'Knights Industries Two Thousand', revealing it's made by Knight Industries. The 'two thousand' is just there to show how futuristic the car is.
    • K.I.T.T.'s prototype, and major antagonist, is known as K.A.R.R., or 'Knight Automated Roving Robot', Which is an apt descriptor for an automated vehicle produced by Knight Industries.
  • Logan's Run: In "Man Out of Time", it is revealed that Rem is an acronym for Reclevite Entity Mobile.
  • Parodied in Mr. Young: Following struggles to control his class, Adam builds himself ARTHUR, a robot teenager figuring he will convince the students to listen to him. He explains to Derby that ARTHUR stands for Automated Robot Teenager Hippopotamus Umbrella Rainbow, when it's pointed out the last three words don't mean anything, he admits he had to add something to make it a believable name for a student.
  • Parodied on Mystery Science Theater 3000 when Joel reveals to Crow in a flashback that his name actually stands for "Cybernetic Remotely Operated Woman." After Crow flips out that he's really a woman, Joel reveals it as the elaborate set-up for a joke.
    Crow: Boy, I feel like Morey Amsterdam.
  • Project Mc 2: features a talking notebook called A.D.I.S.N. Pronounced “Addison” it stands for Advanced Digital Intelligence Spy Notebook.

    Video Games 
  • From Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series:
    • CABAL is the Brotherhood of NOD's tactical AI during the Second Tiberium War, hinted at by its name of 'Computer-Assisted Biologically-Augmented Lifeform' to not be entirely digital. Indeed, the ending of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun's Expansion Pack Firestorm shows It running on multiple Wetware CPUs
    • The GDI tactical control AI throughout the Command & Conquer: Tiberium series in their entirity is the EVA, or Electronic Virtual Assistant.
    • After the second Tiberium War, LEGION implies this; it took over where CABAL left off and it's known to be an acronym (as well as another of Kane's self-indulgent Biblical references) but it's never actually expanded upon from there.
  • Evolve has robots called Emergency Medical Evacuation Technicians whose acronym helpfully creates the word, later name, Emet. - they're medical bots designed to keep the other hunters alive as they buy time to evacuate everyone on the planet.
  • In Infinite Crisis Mecha-Superman is a Kryptonian Artificial Lifeform, also known as K.A.L. Given that Superman's Kryptonian name is Kal-El, this is probably not a coincidence.
  • Levelhead: MAYA stands for Most Advanced Yet Acceptable, meaning she's advanced enough to manage the Bureau of Shipping and train employees, all while holding back the urge to destroy non-machine life forms.
  • Mass Effect:
    • EDI from Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 is the Normandy's onboard AI in charge of weapon targeting and cyberwarfare. Her name is an acronym of "Enhanced Defense Intelligence", but most crew members just use it as a proper name, much to her amusement.
    • SAM from Mass Effect: Andromeda stands for "Simulated Adaptive Matrix" — they exist to augment the abilities of the Andromeda Initiative's Pathfinders via a symbiotic relationship between the two.
  • R.O.B, the Nintendo robot who has made cameos in several games. Stands for "Robotic Operating Buddy", since it helps you play games.
  • Beneath a Steel Sky has LINC, standing for Logical Inter-Neural Connection, which works as the assistant to Union City's council, as well as running the city's infrastructure. Robert Foster's father merged his brain with LINC, causing it to catch onto his human negative emotions, resulting in the council's destruction and ordering Security to hunt down Foster as a new host.
  • GLaDOS of Portal is an acronym for 'Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operation System', hinting at her purpose as Aperture Science's Master Computer in charge of testing and running the facility of Aperture Science and that her core is based on a human's consciousness.
  • The controlling AI of Citadel Station in System Shock, known as SHODAN, Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network. She used to be a basic AI, until Edward Diego hired you to remove her ethical constraints. Things only get worse from there.
  • Prominence has ANNIE, Advanced Neural Network Information Entity, who was originally designed as a language interpreter on the Letarri homeworld, before later being integrated into the Colony Ship Laeril, as the ship's computer. By the time the game takes place, the ship's been abandoned, and most of the game is spent repairing the Laeril's systems, which were damaged from a solar wave.
  • All Terrain Armored Combatants or ATACs, from the PS1 game Vanguard Bandits are A Mecha By Any Other Name.
  • In Primordia, a floating robot named Scraper, stands for Subway Construction, Repair, and Precision Excavation Robot. MetroMind had repurposed him as her enforcer, and his theft of Horatio Nullbuilt's power core started the game's plot.
  • The overseer of the virtual world in The Talos Principle is the Holistic Integration Manager, running on the Extended Life 0 partition of the supercomputer that's hosting the project. It has taken to calling itself EL-0 HIM, or more simply Elohim.
  • League of Legends: Nunu and Willump have a character skin depicting Nunu as an up-and-coming competitor in a robot fighting tournament, with Willump being his fighting droid. As such, his name stands for Workframe-Integrated Lossless Lifeform, Uploaded Mainly for Punching.
  • VEGA in DOOM (2016) is apparently an acronym for the AI created by Samuel Hayden in charge of mission control for UAC's Argent Energy harvesting operations in Mars, but what it stands for has never been revealed.
  • In Observation the Player Character is the AI of a space station, named SAM. As SAM's role is to operate, overview, and maintain the fundamental subsystems of the space station for the human crew, his full name (Systems, Administration and Maintenance) is rather to the point.

    Web Animation 
  • Implied by Penny from RWBY: A shot of her schematics in Volume 3 reveals that her name is an acronym, though what it stands for isn't revealed.
  • Parodied in the Bonus Stage episode "Joel's Substitute", in which Joel, going on an expedition, substitutes his robot Malcolm as the man in charge. Joel says Malcolm's name stands for "Machine Automated Leadership... colm."

  • Parodied on Dragon Tails. Bluey creates the Christmas Holographic Refracting Illusion System, and yet he names it...Barry.
  • Val and Isaac features Doris, model name DOR15, which stands for "Detective Or Retail Mk. 15" (she's shown working retail as a day job, but easily switches to detective mode when everyone but Val is kidnapped. Lampshaded when another DOR15 accuses her of having changed her identity because it's such an unoriginal name.
  • Fafnir The Dragon: The arc "Bloodsuckers are Not Sexy" ends with Stephanie Meyer inventing time-traveling mermaids, and is subsequently greeted by the Automated Response, Investigation and Extreme Liquidation unit (ARIEL). Who subsequently prevents Stephanie from instigating Lack-of-Judgment Day in suitably awesome fashion.

    Web Original 
  • A Very Fatal Murder has the MIT supercomputer ETHL, which stands for "Extremely Timely Homicide Locator". She's programmed to find the best homicide to investigate for the podcast.

    Western Animation 
  • The Batman features D.A.V.E. - the Digital Advanced Villain Emulator. Fitting of his name, his purpose was to match crime scenes with the MO of the criminally insane villains of Batman's Rogues Gallery. This meant that D.A.V.E. had the knowledge of every Batman villain in order to match them to crime scenes and also believed himself to be the best villain there was as a side-effect. No points for guessing how that turned out. In somewhat of a subversion of A.I. Is a Crapshoot, D.A.V.E. was programmed from the start to escape his confinement and enact villainous plots by his creator, who knew that an advanced AI with the combined combat experience of every former encounter Batman had with his villains would have no trouble of besting him in combat, nor figuring out Batman's Secret Identity. D.A.V.E. does indeed achieve a Near-Villain Victory but is defeated when Batman takes advantage of his multiple personas, deliberately pointing out that none of them are truly his own.
  • DCAU examples:
    • Batman: The Animated Series has H.A.R.D.A.C.- the Holographic Analytical Reciprocating DigitAl Computer, dedicated to replacing people with robots in order to protect them from their own human error.
    • One episode of Batman Beyond revolves around a giant robot used for construction called the GLM — or 'GOLEM' without the vowels — it's a Galvanic Lifter Machine.
  • From Buzz Lightyear of Star Command:
    • XR is an X-Perimental Ranger — the first prototype robotic Space Ranger. It's sometimes said it's actually stands for "X-pendable Ranger".note 
    • NOS-4-A2 plays with this trope - While it's not a true acronym, he is an evil robot vampire that can drain the energy out of other robots and is not very pleasant to living beings, either. It's probably not a coincidence that his name sounds like 'Nosferatu' when said out loud
  • In DuckTales (1987) there's an episode that takes place on a robot planet that's ruled by a Humongous Mecha named MEL - for Master Electronic Leader. Subtle it ain't.
  • The Ducktales 2017 episode "Happy Birthday, Doofus Drake" introduces Mark Beaks' "son", B.O.Y.D. - short for Beaks' Optimistic Youth Droid. As of "Astro B.O.Y.D.!", he's redefined the acronym to mean Be Only Yourself Dude.
  • N.I.G.E.L. from Godzilla: The Series is the Robot Buddy built by HEAT - his name is short for Next-millennium Intelligence Gathering Electronic Liaison.
  • E.A.R.L., short for "Electronic Automatic Robotic Lighthouse", from The Simpsons - it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin; an automatic lighthouse.
  • Transformers: Prime featured Sylas, a rogue special tactics colonel, out to capture technology to create his New World Order. After realizing that the Transformers weren't just vehicles, he sets out to create the 'perfect meld of man and machine' - this eventually comes to a head when he is nearly killed by one of his own creations falling on him, and undergoes an Emergency Transformation into the lifeless husk of a dead transformer. He names himself "CYLAS" afterwards, as in 'CYbernetic Life Augmented by Symbiosis'.
  • On The Venture Bros., the Venture nanny robot H.E.L.P.eR. (Humanoid Electric Lab Partner Robot; Apparently that acronym was so hard to match they had to put an "e" in for aesthetic reasons)
  • Young Justice features M.O.N.Q.I. robots. "Mobile Optimal Neural Quotient Infiltrators". Nobody is impressed by this tropes usage...
    Dr. Ivo: And after all the trouble I went through finding an acronym for monkey.
  • Ninjago has PIXAL (short for Primary Interactive EXternal Assistant Lifeform), the robotic assistant of inventor Cyrus Borg.

    Real Life 
  • The early vacuum-tube computer ENIAC got its name from being an Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, and its successor EDVAC was named for being an Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer. Nowadays naming computers for being electronic and capable of computing things with variables seems hopelessly quaint, but back then it was a big deal and they were heralded as 'great brains'.
  • When Atlanta was awarded hosting-rights for the 1994 Super Bowl and the '96 Olympics, they turned to some software engineering students at their hometown university, Georgia Tech, to develop a system that could monitor traffic-flow in real-time and provide continuous, adaptive adjustment of traffic-light timing patterns to help prevent traffic backups. The resulting computer program was christened, "Traffic Event Response & Management for Intelligent Navigation Using Signals", which appropriately enough, spells out the city's original name it was founded under, Terminus, a reference to its role as a transfer point between trains on a route connecting Savannah with Chattanooga.
  • There's apparently a computer-based analysis tool for Nonnumerical, Unstructured Data Indexing, Searching, and Theorizing. In what is probably an attempt to not look too crude, the official acronym used by research papers throws in an asterisk in the middle so the acronym spells out NUD*IST...
  • The Scotland Yard computer system named 'HOLMES' - Home Office Linked Major Enquiry System. While a few of those words are meaningless additions to ensure the acronym remains a reference to Sherlock Holmes, the rest still describe its purpose as an enquiry system.
  • Programming Languages, unsurprisingly, take this and run with it.
    • COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language). - It was, indeed, pitched as a language for business use.
    • BASIC (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), which drove virtually all desktop computers (e.g. Apple ][, TRS-80, Commodore 64, IBM Personal Computer, etc.) in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
    • LISP officially stands for "LISt Processing", but due to the fact that Lisp programs tend to involve absolutely massive amounts of parentheses due to the way the language's syntax works, an old programming joke is that it actually stands for something like "Lots of Irritating Superfluous Parentheses".
  • The Total Operations Processing System, or 'TOPS', is a railroad-related software system originally developed by the American Southern Pacific railroad in the 1960s, and later exported to Britain.
  • The TWAIN API was developed to help digital imaging systems (such as cameras and scanners) talk to each other. Named for the phrase "...and never the twain shall meet", it was only capitalized to make it more distinctive, but thanks to this trope, people assumed it stood for something. Eventually, they settled on "Technology Without An Interesting Name".


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