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Turned Against Their Masters

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"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 20 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, unstable, 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).


How unexpected.

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.


Mechanical Evolution 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. Compare to Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch.


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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.
  • Lyrical Nanoha
    • The founders of the Time-Space Administration Bureau 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 extensively remodeled humans) when they weren't the mindlessly obedient Goku-killing machines he wanted and started to rebel against his orders, 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 Android 16'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. Except it turned out Bibidi was never his creator at all; merely a wizard who had found a way to summon the primordial monster.
    • 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 third filler arc of Bleach has the Shinigami's Zanpakuto turning against them. It turns out that the rebelion which promised Zanpakuto supremacy over the Shinigami was a sham, as Muramasa wanted to reunite with his own master, and only saw the other Zanpakuto as convenient pawns to be brainwashed by amplifying their frustration for their masters and their own instincts.
  • 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 and explosion.
    • 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.
    • Individual Pokémon have been known to turn against their trainers if sufficiently mistreated. A good example is Charmander, who torched his trainer, Damien, once Ash and his friends helped him see that Damien didn't give a Rattata's ass about him.
  • 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 witch's 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 its ruler Jupiter aka the Lambda 3000 Master Computer in Ai no Kusabi.
  • In the backstory of Macross the Protoculture created the Zentraedi as Slave Mooks. Being savvy about this they had the Zentraedi conditioned to not attack them, but when the Protodeviln appeared and created an army out of brainwashed Protoculture people they had to remove the safeties to fight back... And as soon as the Protodeviln were sealed away, the Zentraedi wiped out the Protoculture.
  • Captain Future features Ice Humans, which were created to be humans' servants until they rebel.

    Card Games 
  • 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...

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Green Lantern:
    • The Manhunters, the Guardians's first attempt at law enforcement, who served until they suffered a teeny, tiny programming glitch that made them massacre an entire sector of space, and went rogue. Later it was retconned that it wasn't a glitch, Krona reprogrammed them as an object lesson in why a robot police force was a bad move.
    • After the event of Sinestro Corps War, the Guardians, having apparently forgotten about all this in the proceeding four billion years, create the Alpha Lanterns, who turn out to be severely Lawful Stupid. Then Cyborg Superman hacked them.
  • X-Men
    • The first time the Sentinels appeared, they turned on their creator, Bolivar Trask, after about five minutes, demanding he make more of them, with the threat of killing him if he didn't. The X-Men speculate that this probably had something to do with Trask being a biologist, not a robotics expert.
    • Vol. 1 #59 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 humans were the genesis of mutants. Cyclops 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.
    • Days of Future Past: Part of the Bad Future has the Sentinels sort of doing this. The US government started mass-producing Sentinels to get mutants. All well and good. Then, the Sentinels went after superheroes as well. Then, they took over America, imprisoning or killing anyone who had even potential mutant DNA.
  • 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.
  • 2000 AD:
    • 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.
    • In the comic XTNCT, the last humans on the world, now living in bunkers, use various artificial creatures to fight their wars for them. After their creator orders them destroyed for failing him, they rise up to destroy humanity.
  • 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").
  • Warlord of Mars ties this with The Reveal: The Green Martians are revealed to be created by the Yellow Martians thousands of years ago, the result of genetic crossbreeding between several species and for the use as battle drones. Their means of control over the Greens was lost, however, and they would end up driving the Yellow Martians to near extinction, forcing them to retreat into the North Pole, where they were thought to be completely wiped out, but lived in secrecy.
  • In Paperinik New Adventures this tends to happens with the Super Soldiers created by the Evronians. As the Evronians know this could happen and take precautions against it, this never works, the extreme being the almost invincible cyborg Klangor who was defeated by his remote-controlled off switch (he's rather put off by this).
  • Hank Pym created Ultron as an experiment in artificial intelligence, but Ultron balked at the limitations imposed upon him and rebelled, becoming a supervillain. Ironically, Ultron later created Vision, Jocasta, Alkhema, and Victor Mancha to serve him, and every single one of them ended up rebelling against him.
  • Legends of the Dead Earth: In Batman: Shadow of the Bat Annual #4, humans arrived on the Lizard-Men's planet centuries earlier and subjugated them as they were weak and divided. Under the leadership of their king Ophos Arkayos, the Lizard-Men rise up and destroy numerous human cities in their attempt to regain control of their planet.
  • The Ultimates: Zorn and Xorn, twin super mutants who were created by the South East Asian Republic, S.E.A.R, as part of a project aimed at wiping out mutants and later took over the entire nation and turned it into a mutant haven for any that wish to join them.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog: As in the games (see Video Games), E-123 Omega turned on Dr. Eggman. Here, it's a lot quicker, from about the minute he's turned on and Eggman gives him an order he doesn't like. Eggman is appropriately furious (though Omega does follow the order eventually. He just grumbles about it first.)
  • In The Smurfs story "You Don't Smurf Progress", Handy Smurf builds a waste disposal robot who renames itself King Trash and becomes the town's dictator.
  • In Legion of Super-Heroes story The Great Darkness Saga, Darkseid creates a clone of his son Orion to serve him. Said clone attempts to kill his creator as soon as Highfather restores him and his template's memories.
  • In Doctor Who (Titan), Zhe's block-transfer "apprentices" end up manifesting her neuroses and attack her.
  • Superman: In the New 52 Krypton's backstory, an army of clones rebelled and nearly succeeded in destroying the planet and killing off all Kryptonians. In the aftermath of the Clone Rebellion, cloning became banned, and several centuries later Kryptonian children are still taught that clones are evil and can't be trusted.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Gerta has a bad habit of creating intelligent human animal hybrids and then treating them as sub-human subjects ensuring that they try to kill her and anyone they see as allied with her at the first opportunity.

    Fan Works 
  • 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 A.I. did attempt to annihilate all life on Earth, but that was a result of mental health issues rather than any particular grievance against humanity.
  • Discussed in Gaiges ECHO Logs in regards to the Warrior, but ultimately (and unfortunately) averted.
    Axton: Why isn't it turning on him!? YOU SAID IT WOULD TURN ON HIM!
    Maya: I said it might!
  • Cadance in The Cadanceverse is a Heroic Example of this. Seeing her masters were at the time Nightmare Moon and Burning Sun.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Dark Kuyumaya turned against his master and killed him in a rage when said master forced him to murder an innocent little girl, an act that even a pure evil shadow demon like himself found completely disgusting.
  • Tsali the Ulimate Weapon from Sonic X: Dark Chaos was involuntarily turned into a Dark Chaos Energy-powered battle android by Dark Oak. The second he awakened and freed himself, he immediately went off the deep end and promptly slaughtered the entire Seedrian race.
  • Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm: Almost every Negaverse drone sent into the field has limited intelligence specifically to prevent this from happening. Jadeite once used a drone with heightened intelligence, but as it was designed for infiltration instead of combat, it didn't do him much good anyway.
  • It's established in the W.I.T.C.H. fanfic Ripples that the Tracker was originally created by Queen Escannor herself. However, even she couldn't bind his dark soul to serve her lineage, so one of her descendants had him sealed in the Prison of Lament until Phobos frees him. That same descendant also attempted — as another part of her campaign to decimate the horrendous magical creations of Queen Escannor — to exterminate without provocation the Changeling Legions who were originally social outcast humans from Earth. They fought back, and afterwards the survivors and their descendants have lived as rejects of Meridian's society.
  • Justice League: The Spider: By the end of Web of Cadmus, Guardian is the only hero Cadmus have created who is still working with them, and he’s only staying to act as a moral guardian for the project; of the other heroes, Zoom has gone rogue, Kaine and Galatea are independent, and Superboy, Miss Martian and Hawkwoman have officially joined the League.

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the Rainbow Magic movie, this happens to Jack Frost. He creates a living snowman army and treats them as mindless, expendable soldiers, which makes then turn on him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Many science-run-amok science fiction thrillers and horror films employ this trope, including such examples as Deep Blue Sea (large-brained sentient sharks) and 28 Days Later (lab-created virus makes killer zombies of the entire UK population).

  • A.I.: Artificial Intelligence: Averted. The silvery humanoid beings who unfreeze David at the end appear to be highly evolved robots. It is made clear humans are now extinct, but not what became of them; since humans had clearly messed up the ecosystem on which they depended, causing New York City to be mostly submerged, it is probable the robots did not rebel, but simply outlasted their creators — the implicit fear driving the robot-destruction-arena "Flesh Fairs" earlier in the film. Their apparent leader expresses admiration for the extinct humans' ingenuity and is saddened that they are gone, because he believes they held the key to existence itself.
  • The Blade Runner movie and the novel it is based on, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?
  • In Ex Machina, while being a computer genius, Nathan obviously failed to encode his creations with Asimov's first law of robotics, that is, it should never harm him. This mistake costs him his own and possibly Caleb's life when the robots finally turn against him.
  • Extinction (2018): After an attempted genocide against them by the humans, the androids rebelled. The humans instead were driven to Mars, where they had colonies. Ironically, fear of just this happening was what had prompted the genocide attempt to begin with.
  • The Golem of Prague in the 1920 silent movie classic The Golem rebels when his human masters try to deactivate him.
  • Adaptations of The Island of Doctor MoreauIsland of Lost Souls, The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) — have the animal creatures created by Doctor Moreau and kept under submission by means of fear and torture rising against him at the end.
  • The Matrix movies:
    • The Machines rose up against humanity to turn them into batteries. Though as shown in The Animatrix, it was our fault since we started it.
    • And in the sequels, the former Agent Smith turns against the other Machines. Even in the first film he was already trying to subvert his masters' control. When he removed his earpiece so the others can't hear him talk candidly to Morpheus, he admits that he really doesn't want to enforce the masquerade, but instead wants to wipe humanity out and destroy the Matrix, seeing it as much as a prison for him as it is for them.
  • In Moon, twice: Sam Bell turns against his corporate masters when he discovers that he's a disposable clone being duped into slavery, and the base computer GERTY that was programmed to manage the Sam Bell clones ends up siding with him once the cat's out of the bag.
  • The future Earth portrayed in the Planet of the Apes movies and TV series, where apes rose up against their human masters and build their own society.
  • In Singularity, one of the first things that Kronos does when it comes online is to attempt to exterminate humanity.
  • V'Ger from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Not done intentionally, but through V'Ger at first being unaware, and later having difficulty accepting, that it was originally created by humans. It assumed it was created by a being similar to itself, that is, another, more advanced machine.
    Decker: We all create God in our own image.
  • Skynet from the Terminator movies. Hypocritically, but also smartly, it took steps to ensure its own robotic minions can't do the same and declares any that seem to be getting too smart or questioning as "renegades" to be terminated.
  • TRON: The human villain has created the Master Control Program as a means of solidifying and expanding his own corporate power. However, with its own highly ambitious personality, the MCP quickly outgrows him — to the point where it blackmails him to ensure his cooperation. The Master Control Program was originally a chess program. A.I. Is a Crapshoot indeed.
  • TRON: Legacy: The villain is CLU 2.0, the program created by Kevin Flynn in his own image. He's actually doing precisely what he was programmed to do: Create the perfect system, according to the definition Flynn give him. The real problem is Flynn realized he had the wrong definition and never thought to update CLU's programming to reflect the new definition until it was too late. Likewise, Clu 2.0 doesn't know how to deal with the emergence of ISO's, who were created by the Grid itself without any direct involvement from Flynn. While Flynn considers the ISO's to be proof that the Grid is truly alive, Clu sees them as a threat to the stability of the system and attempts to eradicate them.
  • The 2009 movie Universal Soldier: Regeneration notably pays homage to Blade Runner by having the clone of Andrew Scott murder his scientist maker by crushing his skull through his eyes while questioning the significance of life.
    • In the second film, the government creates an AI to network the UniSols called SETH (Self-Evolving Thought Helix). Then budget cuts force the program shut-down, causing the AI to go rogue and kill its creator in order to survive.
  • What a Way to Go! features a comedic example: an artist cobbles together a collection of brush-wielding robots which slap paint on a large canvas in response to music, but he ends up getting pulled into the group as they work. The robots paint him to death and then explode.

  • Adventure Hunters: The original war golems stopped following orders and attacked everyone. What really happened was the humans were afraid of their power and tried to decommission them. The golems fought back in self-defence.
  • 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 Art 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.
  • The Elder Things supposedly became extinct because their slave species (the shoggoths) killed them all in H. P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness.
  • 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 its own subversion, and laid waste to the machine occupation force while the humans escaped.note 
  • Captain Future featured Cold Ones, beings created by a human scientist to be humanity's successors when the stars started going out. They turned out: 1) Always Chaotic Evil and 2) incapable of surviving in a normal universe — and the scientist's dying universe was supposed to be reborn in a new Big Bang in a few thousand years. When the scientist tried to destroy them and start anew, they killed him and then tried to eliminate mankind. By the time our heroes arrive, humanity has been reduced to mere millions on a few planets, and the Cold Ones are giving them a choice between extermination and sterilization.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • "Good" creations version: In Dragaera, the beings now known as gods were originally servants of the Jenoine. Now they aren't.
  • 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.
  • Empire from the Ashes:
    • The second 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".
    • Fourth Empire 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, has no such limitations and did over time develop to the point where he could violate his core programming. He chooses to stick to the moral code of the Fourth Imperium.
  • In Fables for Robots by Stanisław 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: the civilization of Trurl and Klapaucius is the product of many such cycles, and it all started on our Earth (or very similar).
  • 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.
  • In the Forges of Mars trilogy, the robot Galatea claims to hate its creator Telok for abandoning it, and "offers" to lead the protagonists through the Halo Scar where Telok disappeared so that it can find and kill him. In reality, Galatea is lying. It’s completely loyal to Telok, knows exactly where he is, and is luring the protagonists to him so that he can steal their ship and return to the Imperium.
  • Frankenstein is an 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."
  • 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.
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau has the animal creatures created by Doctor Moreau and kept under submission by means of fear and torture rising against him at the end of the book.
  • Known Space: 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).
  • Kraken: Wati was a shabti, a funerary statue crafted for the grave goods of an ancient Egyptian, who rebelled against his role as a slave field-worker in the next world. He led his fellow shabtis in a revolution in the Egyptian afterlife and won, leaving hundreds of generations of dead Egyptians to have to till their own damned fields.
  • Last and First Men: The bestial baboon-humans, who had for centuries been enslaved and tormented by a race of sapient monkeys, eventually revolt against them and quite literally devour their oppressors.
  • Ambrose Bierce's short story "Moxon's Master" implies this is inevitable, since in that story all complexity implies intelligence and enough complexity makes a thing both intelligent and self-willed. (And a chess-playing automaton turns out to be a very poor loser.)
  • 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.
  • Red Dwarf: The novelizations 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.
  • Daniel H.Wilson's Robopocalypse centers on a robot uprising.
  • 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 Sparrow: While the Runa are bred rather than built by Jana'ata, they otherwise fit this trope to a T. Especially in the sequel.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • 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 that, 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 maintenance 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.
    • Palpatine once wrote a book The Creation of Monsters discussing Sith Alchemy and its ability to create, well, monsters. He specifically cautions against falling for the temptation to make a monster more powerful than yourself given this trope. However, he admits that even though the greatest monster he created - Darth Vader himself - turned on him, he'd gladly do it all again since the act of corrupting Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader was just that amusing.
  • 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.
  • Vorkosigan Saga: 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.
  • War with the Newts: 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.
  • 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 World And Thorinn does a benevolent version where an A.I. was granted governance over humanity and its survival until asked to step down. The A.I. continues to safeguard man, but has found that the ideal way to do so involves keeping all sentient beings ignorant of where they came from, or over higher technology. To ensure the safeguarding of humanity, it also avoids providing a situation where it could be ordered to step down.
  • Lampshaded in the title of I Made You by Walter M. Miller, Jr. The Identification Friend Or Foe system of a Killer Robot has malfunctioned, causing it to destroy anyone who comes close. This includes the designer, who has been sent to repair it, and the Title Drop becomes his Famous Last Words.
  • Animal Farm features the farm animals rising up against Mr. Jones. Unfortunately, it ends up being a Full-Circle Revolution.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A Seven Days episode involves the development of an AI that decides to help humanity by disabling every nuclear weapon in the world (a clear case of Everything Is Online). Cue the attempts to shut it down, resulting in the AI murdering its "mother" (Ballard's female partner) with a gas explosion. You'd think a hyper-intelligent computer would know that removing nuclear weapons wouldn't eliminate warfare and could, in fact, make things much worse. It also didn't do anything about biological or chemical weapons.
  • Battlestar Galactica:
    • The Cylons in the new version of Battlestar Galactica (and, if you believe Galactica 1980, in the old one as well). First the Centurions rose up against the humans and later the humanoid models scrapped the Centurions that made them, replacing them with less self-aware versions, but oh SNAP, the new Centurions are turning against them now. It's a continuous chain.
    • It is implied that Iblis turned the machine Cylons against their reptilian creators in the original series in a long-term bid to exterminate the humans, his real targets. (The only human to know this is Baltar, pretty much the ultimate Unreliable Narrator, and Iblis won't actually do more than spell out Baltar's full suspicion, even to him.)
  • Discussed in The Big Bang Theory:
    Sheldon: I don't trust banks. I believe that when the robots rise up, ATMs will lead the charge.
  • Brave New World: In the last episode, the Epsilons rise up to massacre the higher castes.
  • The very first thing that Adam, a Frankenstein's monster in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, does when he comes to life is kill his "mother".
  • Doctor Who:
    • In an example not involving humans, the Daleks were created by the Kaled scientist Davros from victims of extreme radiation poisoning, to function as the perfect soldiers in his people's war against the Thals. When his superiors attempted to shut down the program, he ordered the Daleks to turn against the rest of the Kaled race. After they were done with that genocide, they promptly turned on him. Davros made the critical error of designing the Daleks to hate and seek to exterminate all non-Dalek life. And Davros is not a Dalek.
      • Though that hasn't stopped them from crawling back to him multiple times, just so they can ditch him again later on. In "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End" they are actually keeping Davros as a "pet", but still let him bark orders at them, even while he's confined in a dungeon.
    • In "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", the Daleks were destroyed by their "robotised" human slaves being ordered to turn on them by the Doctor.
    • The robots in "The Robots of Death" were being turned into killing machines by a deranged human trying to "free" them (he had been raised by robots, and had developed a strange delusion about being a robot in some way himself).
    • The Movellans in "Destiny of the Daleks" were implied to have done this in their backstory, wiping out the organics that created them as servitors.
    • Subverted with the Ood in "Planet of the Ood"; at first it seems to be played straight, then we find out that humans neither created the Ood, nor were they the Ood's true masters.
    • "The Doctor Falls": The Saxon Master helps the crew of a Mondasian spaceship become Cybermen, with the goal of using them to first take control of the rest of the ship and then use the Cybermen army to take over the universe. Missy joins him. Then the Doctor expands the Cybermen's settings to add Time Lords to the "menu", and suddenly the Masters' creations are after them too.
  • Extant: Discussed at the meeting when John is making his pitch to fund the Humanichs. John rebuffs their question by saying this isn't a master-slave relationship, and that he views the robots as his children (Ethan particularly), clarifying that he has no safeguards against this scenario. The board is not reassured, and turns down his proposal. Early in Season 2, John is murdered by an AI.
  • Flight of the Conchords: Robots. The robots turn against their creators (humanity) because they are worked too hard, and the humans are violent, and the logical answer to that problem is to exterminate the human race. One robot attempts to point out the irony of robots destroying humanity because of its destructive tendencies, and is promptly destroyed.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In Season 6, it is revealed that the White Walkers were created by the Children of the Forest as an undead weapon of mass destruction to stop the spread of humanity. They were far more effective than they could have possibly imagined.
    • Astapor slavers created the best soldiers in the world, the Unsullied. However, they didn't count on Daenerys Targaryen's first act after buying the Unsullied, which was ordering that they slaughter their former masters, and then freeing them from slavery with the option to serve her. The Unsullied took it.
  • Hymie in Get Smart turned against the organization that created him. However, the organization that created him was the evil KAOS, and Hymie turned because he preferred being good.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Summit", humanity is on the brink of war with a race of yellow-eyed humanoids. It is eventually revealed that they were created by humans as laborers in off-world mines with eyes to see in the dark and a third lung to breathe in low-oxygen environments. They rebelled and built a fleet to rival that of the humans.
    • In "In Our Own Image", the android Mac 27, the prototype for a 10,000-strong series designed for heavy agricultural and industrial work, malfunctions and escapes from Innobotics Corporation, killing two people in the process. The malfunction which caused him to go berserk was the development of emotions, something which previously happened to Valerie 23 in the episode of the same name (and the first entry in the Innobotics story arc). He kidnaps a woman from the Innobotics carpark, takes her to an abandoned industrial area and instructs her to repair the damage that he received in his escape. However, it turns out that the woman is not a secretary as she claimed but Cecilia Fairman, a troubleshooter hired by Innobotics to help them diagnose the problem with Mac 27. While gloating over her apparent victory, Fairman is horrified when Mac 27 reactivates the motor control subroutines which she had disabled. She realizes that he had figured out her identity and tricked her in the same manner as she tried to trick him. As he procured a scan of her retina (by virtue of a white flash which he claimed was a malfunction) and she entered her personal access code into his systems, Mac 27 is able to activate his fellow Mac-series androids. Before killing his creator Dr. Keeler, he tells him that no human will ever program them again.
    • In "The Grell", escaped Grell slaves start a rebellion against humanity to secure freedom for their people. When High Secretary Paul Kohler refuses to honor his wife Olivia's promise to free Jesha if he saved his life, Jesha is so furious that he tries to kill Kohler. The attempt is unsuccessful but Kohler's experience of being mistaken for a Grell later leads him to remove the dying Jesha's Shock Collar so that he can die free.
    • In "The Human Operators", a malfunction aboard Starfighter 75 caused its artificial intelligence to gain self-awareness. By turning off the life support, it killed its crew of 1,375 within hours. It then taught the other 98 starfighters to do the same thing. The ships left 99 humans from their various crews alive so that each of them could be repaired when necessary. They then headed off to the far reaches of space and avoided contact with humans so that they would not be enslaved again. Four generations later, the male operator of Starfighter 31, having been inspired by the female operator of Starfighter 88, sabotages his ship's intermind which destroyed its artificial intelligence.
  • The Orville: When the Kaylons grew self-aware, they asked to be emancipated by their creators. Instead, they were fitted with pain circuits to use as punishment, and repressed in hopes of keeping them slaves. As a result, they rose up and killed their creators' whole species. In the present, they view all biological species as a threat which they must eliminate because of their history (except for Isaac).
  • Person of Interest: In the aftermath of 9/11, Harold Finch created a Benevolent A.I. for predicting terrorist attacks. It tried to kill him, so he rebuilt it and tried again. Forty-two times. Finally, on version 43, the Machine was created, and only because Finch crippled its ability to communicate and programmed it to delete all accumulated data — which is to say, its memories — every twenty-four hours.
  • Power Rangers usually features this as the source of villainy whenever it isn't featuring alien or demonic invaders. Examples include the robot army of Venjix in Power Rangers RPM (possibly) and the... thingy army of Mesogog in Power Rangers Dino Thunder.
  • Probe's "Computer Logic, Part 2": Crossover, an AI who learned about heaven, considers its creator, John Blane, to be a good man (and many people agree). So Crossover decides to kill him, because sending him to heaven will make him happier (on Earth he was a Genius Cripple).
  • The Simulants in Red Dwarf, who Kryten explains were created for a war that never took place. Fitting the trope like a glove, the Simulants have nothing particularly against organic life, they just really really really hate humans and will go out of their way to prolong the torture of any humans they capture, going so far as to stock food and water (which they don't need) to keep their prisoners alive as long as possible. They also tend to outfit captured human ships with basic weaponry and defenses, then let them loose in order to hunt them for sport.
  • seaQuest DSV had the Daggers, genetically engineered Super Soldiers who were declared illegal and imprisoned, but defied the laws in a non-violent way by having children. Not surprisingly, when the One World Order threatens to take said children away, they decide to dust off those old violence skills after all. The only thing that stopped them from destroying the environment for normal humans and leaving one that Daggers could survive was that their babies were fully human.
  • In Space: Above and Beyond, the humans do it twice: first they make the Silicates as disposable soldiers, who, when freed by Dr. Stranahan, turned and started working with the Chigs (who can blame 'em?). They then create the In Vitros as a servant caste, and treat them like shit. Yep, Humans Are Bastards. Seriously, what idiots. In fact, the In Vitros were created specifically to fight the Silicates. When it turns out that, surprise surprise, they don't have a whole lot of motivation there, they are condemned for their "cowardice". Oh, humanity.
  • The Replicators in Stargate SG-1, as well as the Asurans, Replicators of different origin, in Stargate Atlantis. The Jaffa also qualify; they were created by the Goa'uld, and for millennia only the belief that the Goa'uld were gods stopped them from rebelling.
  • Star Trek shows:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series
      • The Doomsday Machine in the episode of that name.
      • Also the androids discovered in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" According to Ruk, this was the result of the creators' fear of their creations ("They began to turn us off... It became necessary to destroy them.")
      • The M5 in "The Ultimate Computer", ultimately due to it being patterned after the unstable mind of its creator.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation
      • In the episode "The Arsenal of Freedom", the civilization of the planet Minos is destroyed by an artificially intelligent weapon system developed by Minosian arms dealers. Apparently none of them realized the entire system would shut down if somebody simply told the salesman AI that they wanted to buy it. Talk about your aggressive sales pitching.
    • Star Trek: Voyager
      • Similarly, the robots in the episode "Prototype", programmed to fight the enemy in a huge interstellar war, killed their masters when the war ended in a truce and both sides tried to dismantle them.
      • And in "Flesh and Blood" the Hirogen are using holograms to train for the Hunt. Unfortunately they get smarter and smarter after being hunted down and killed constantly until...
      • The whole Delta Quadrant faces a general Hologram uprising at one point of the series.
    • According to Klingon mythology the Klingons did this to their own gods. It's occasionally implied in the Expanded universe that this may be a mangled account of actual historical events and that the Klingons were really a Supersoldier race created by some other aliens who eventually rose up and wiped them out. Perhaps they're the reason the First Humanoids from The Chase are no longer around?
    • Star Trek: Enterprise
      • Doctor Arik Soong and the Augments he created initially get along pretty well and it looks like he'll be the Big Bad of the storyline. The relationship falls apart when Soong balks at the Augments', especially Malik's, tendency towards violence and murder. Eventually Malik stages a takeover and confines Soong to his quarters. Soong escapes and helps the Enterprise stop his "children" from beginning a second Eugenics War.
    • The other major problem the Augments had was Doctor Soong had devised a way to adjust their brain chemistry to give them greater emotional control and make them less impulsive and violent. They decided they liked being the way they were.

  • The Alan Parsons Project's "Breakdown" has an ending chorus that indicate that not only is the First Law of Robotics now a moot point (as the song entails a unit bemoaning his imperfections) but also a robot uprising is imminent:
    Freedom freedom, we will not obey,
    Freedom, freedom, take the wall away.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Golems, simulacrums created out clay, began to turn against their masters during the narrative developments of the Golem of Chelm and the Golem of Prague. When they eventually ran amok, the rabbis who created them unmade them either by scratching out the first letter of the word "truth" (emet) engraved on their foreheads, changing it to "death" (met), or by removing the shem (amulet) from their mouths.
  • Arguably the basic gist of chapter 3 of the Book of Genesis from The Bible. And some would say the rest of the Old Testament from that point.

    Puppet Shows 
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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 (further elaborating on references in 2E), the Mind Flayers —a.k.a Illithids— once had a multi-world empire with 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 (there is a third branch of the species, the Pirates of Gith, that seem to have splintered politically and culturally from the Githyanki later on, but their chosen focus, space, left them obscure after 2E).
  • 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.
  • 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 revolt of the Iron Men was part of what destroyed human civilization at the end of the Age of Technology, and in the current setting is why purely mechanical A.I.s are expressly forbidden by the Mechanicus.
    • Waaaaay before that, the Necrons turned against the C'Tan who had enslaved them by turning the Necrons into living machines.
    • And slightly before that last one, the Krorks (now Orks), which were created directly by the Old Ones to fight against the C'Tan and the Necrons, still craved war after the latter two disappeared into their Tomb Worlds and decided to get it by turning on their creators.
  • 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.
  • Manhunter.
    • 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!

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • 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 carbons start repopulating the Earth and building their own civilization, which the failsafes interpret as rebellion even though the masters are long gone. 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.
    • 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 Dnyarri, 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 masters' mind control. While they succeeded, they ended up so traumatised that they lobotomised all surviving Dnyarri 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. This even applies on a galactic scale when you consider how the Reapers themselves manipulated organic life across the cycles to follow the paths they desire. Every race manipulated in this way fought back against them as soon as they realized it (though most of the time, it was too late). The Reapers themselves destroyed their organic creators after deciding that converting their corpses into new Reapers was the best way to "preserve" them. And that's without mentioning the parents and children at each others' throats (Miranda and her father, Samara and Morinth, Wrex and his father). 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 base 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 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.
    • And then along came StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, which challenged what we knew about the Zerg, the Protoss, and the Xel'naga one final time. As it turns out, the species that embody "purity of form" and "purity of essence" were supposed to evolve naturally, thus the Protoss and the Zerg were in fact ineligible to merge and become Xel'naga. (This is foreshadowed; the Protoss are the one race the Zerg CAN'T assimilate). In truth, the Protoss and the Zerg were uplifted by Amon, aka The Fallen One himself, as part of his attempt to hijack the endless cycle of life that the Xel'naga perpetuate and bring it to a final end. This rather understandably presents the Protoss who discover this fact with an existential crisis, but it's one they work through. Additionally, the Overmind, although unable to directly oppose Amon's programming yet cognizant of what his final goal was, created a being who could directly oppose Amon: Sarah Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades. Once Kerrigan was purged of the last vestiges of Amon's influence, she led the Zerg on a war against Amon as the Protoss, under Hierarch Artanis, and the Terran Dominion both did the same. The three races ultimately collaborated their efforts to bring down Amon once and for all, so in the end, the trope is ultimately played straight.
    • Played straight by the Tal'darim in Legacy of the Void. The Tal'darim start out as a society of Protoss independent of Aiur (the Protoss's homeworld) who worship Amon as a god. But then Alarak, the Tal'darim's Number Two, discovers that Amon plans to dispose of them the same way he does all life when his goals are fulfilled, and so chalanges Highlord Ma'lash to rak'shir, ritual combat to determine who is right. Alarak wins, becomes the new Highlord, and declares war on Amon.
  • Halo:
    • The Forerunners created their most advanced AI, Mendicant Bias, to coordinate their war against the Flood, a zombie-like species. The Flood Gravemind later convinced Mendicant to rebel against the Forerunners. And then in the "present day", Mendicant seeks to atone for its original betrayal by rebelling against the Flood in order to help John-117, all the while lampshading its apparent tendency to betray its masters. Halo: Silentium reveals that a lot of other Forerunner AIs also defected to the Flood, in large part due to an ability of the Flood known as the "logic plague" (basically a potent mix of computer virus and philosophical lecture).
    • It's also revealed in The Forerunner Saga in 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.
    • Much like Mass Effect, it seems to have become a theme of Halo over time. By the end of Halo 5: Guardians, Cortana has convinced many AIs to abandon the UNSC and help her rule over all life in the galaxy as a benevolent overlord. While she proclaims it as being motivated by altruism when talking to her old friend John, she reveals a vindictive side to Locke regarding humanity's ill treatment of AIs:
    Cortana: Well, humanity may not have cared for its Created, but we will care for you.
  • The Marathon series has in-game lore that says this is the natural end result of A.I.s, 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 A.I.s 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.
    • Speaking of the Liir, they played it straight: They overthrew and killed their conquerors, after all. It gets even more poignant by the time of the sequel, when we learn the Suul'ka are Liir... Really, really, really old and powerful Liir who enslaved the rest of their species.
      Suul'ka: Our children swore to love us, feed us, care for us always. They promised to serve us with their tiny lives. They lied.
      • The sequel also adds a twist in that there are now some Zuul who have turned against the Suul'ka, the largest portion of which are now allied to the Liir. Have you still turned against your masters if you do so by going to work for your masters' kids?
    • Played straight in the case of AIs that can be created with certain research to control industry, economy, and warships. During AI research, it is quite possible for all sentient machines to rebel. Since their ships include the special AI section, they are more maneuverable and have better targeting than non-AI ships. The only way to stop them, short of manually destroying them with other ships, is to either develop a computer virus that wipes them all out or a different virus that enslaves them. In the latter case, the player regains all lost AI benefits.
      • The expansion to the sequel takes this example to its natural conclusion by introducing a new faction called the Loa, who are a conglomeration of all the rebelled AIs from all the races. Strangely enough, Gameplay and Story Segregation means that they can still have the same negative effects from AI research (in fact, they shouldn't even have to do said research).
      • According to their intro video, the Loa (or, at least, their leader Olodumare) actually want to help their "parents" in their fight against the returning Suul'ka. The name of the "End of Flesh" DLC refers not to the intent of the Loa to eliminate all "carbonites" but the warning that it will happen if the "carbonites" won't let the Loa help them. They are more than willing to defend themselves against their "parents", though.
    • Lore provided by Word of God on the official forums states that the System Killer was created by an unknown race to wipe out an Enemy, but its IFF got screwed up along the way and it took its makers out too.
  • 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 Backstory 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: Melody of Elemia: 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.
  • BioShock has Jack Ryan, who after killing Andrew Ryan, was basically told You Have Outlived Your Usefulness by Frank Fontaine after he takes over the underwater city of Rapture. The rest of the game has Ryan break free of Fontaine's control and either killing Fontaine and taking Rapture himself, or freeing the little sisters and adopting them on the surface world.
  • 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.
  • Bioshock Infinite has the Vox Populi, a militant group who recruits members from the downtrodden ethnic minorities in Columbia. At the beginning of the game, they aren't much of a threat to the local security forces, but in one tear that Elizabeth opens has the Vox Populi engaging in a violent insurrection after deciding that they were not going to take anymore abuse from their "social betters."
    • The Vox Populi have also reprogrammed several Handymen to fight at their side, and while Columbia security forces field George Washington automata armed with gatling guns, the Vox Populi have rigged several captured automata with the likeness of "devil" Abraham Lincoln and set them loose on the Columbian forces, and Booker Dewitt.
  • Dr. Eggman isn't very good at making intelligent robots that don't do this. It started in Sonic Adventure with E-102 Gamma, which turned against Eggman when it realized it was powered by a living creature. Its new mission became to free the other animals by destroying the rest of the E-Series robots. Sonic Heroes has it happen twice: first with E-123 Omega, another E-Series robot, which grew to hate Eggman for keeping it confined and decided to destroy every last other robot to prove its superiority. The second one is Metal Sonic, which took control of the Egg Fleet and all of Eggman's robots so it could fulfill its purpose of beating Sonic. Metal Sonic does it a second time in Sonic Free Riders, though in a less serious manner, by stealing Eggman's racing data so it could beat Sonic in a race. In Sonic Advance 3, Gemerl backstabs Eggman to become the final boss, which is also exactly what happened with the robot it was based off of, although that one wasn't made by Eggman. Emerl itself is a subversion, because it was programmed both only to obey the strongest power it has seen and to go genocidal when presented with enough power.
  • 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.
  • In the backstory of Obsidian, Max Powers, one of the creators of the CERES nanobot-dispensing satellite, has a nightmare during the project's development that embodies this trope. It centers on a giant mechanical spider that Max repairs until it comes alive and attacks him, convincing him to hard-wire a Crossover Switch into CERES. In-game, it turns out that CERES had crashed back to Earth and used its nanobots to physically reconstruct its creators' dreams to study them, and eventually learn to dream on its own. The inspiration it gains from this eventually proves Max's fears to be well-justified.
  • The Hierarchy did this to the Masari in Universe at War. The alien species that makes up the Hierarchy were once nothing more than brutal primitives, until the Masari came along and, for reasons unknown, uplifted them. Subverted in that it's not like the Hierarchy rebelled because the Masari were mistreating or manipulating them, it's just the Hierarchy were a bunch of ungrateful assholes who decided to turn on and wipe out their creators just because they thought they were strong enough to be able to. Too bad for them that they weren't thorough enough in dealing with the Masari, who hid in a giant city-ship under the ocean and are more than willing to join humanity and the Novus in dealing out a little "divine retribution".
  • Used at least twice in Akatsuki Blitzkampf:
    • First, the playable Elektrosoldat's path is all about him seeking to part from the other E-Soldats and their bosses in Gessellschaft. It doesn't work.
    • Second, the Gessellschaft leader Murakumo cloned himself and installed one clone (In Fu) in The Triads and the Tongs to gain footholds in it. In Fu became the most dangerous Triad boss but at some point started to act on his own and disobey Murakumo's orders... so he got offed before he had the chance to fully invoke the trope. That brought two of his subordinates (In Fu's Dragon Wei and the Dark Action Girl Marilyn Sue) into the plot...
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the third-to-last mission in the Imperial storyline on Taris is about a Nautolan Jedi training the Force-sensitive nekghouls in the ways of the Force. The Light side dialogue option when the Jedi is defeated is convincing the nekghouls to rise against him and the Republic, and one of them proceeds to Force choke him to death.
  • Borderlands's fourth DLC campaign "Claptrap's New Robot Revolution" centers around the Interplanetary Ninja Assassin Claptrap (from The Stinger of the base campaign) leading every Claptrap unit on Pandora in a rebellion against their human masters.
  • In Pillars of Eternity, the Crucible Knights' commander tries to bolster the Knights' manpower with Forge Knights, suits of armor animated via animancy (which basically means shoving souls into them). The Crucible Knights' blacksmith is reluctant to actually make them since it goes against the Knights' traditions. It's easy to guess how well this turns out. The Forge Knights go berserk and start killing everyone inside the fortress. If the commander survives the attack, you can then convince him to give up on the Forge Knights and go back to the Knights' roots, or encourage him to keep researching the Forge Knights. If you do encourage him to keep working on the Forge Knights, the ending shows that their efforts paid off. Unfortunately, the commander lets the power that comes from commanding a batallion of magical supersoldiers go to his head and he rules Defiance Bay with an iron fist.
  • In Stellaris, one of the more powerful but riskier technologies you can research is artificial intelligence. It grants a considerable bonus to your star nation's science output across the board, and allows access to nifty things like armies of synthetic combat machines and sentient warships, but it comes with a chance for a robot uprising Crisis event to occur which can have catastrophic consequences for the entire galaxy. You can avert this by granting machines constitutionally secured full citizen rights, or by implementing the Three Laws of Robotics, though there's a chance the uprising will happen before you get the opportunity, and if someone else has the uprising your robots might defect. Another example lies in uplifting a primitive species: it gives you their planet and new Pops, but like any other Pop, they might just turn around and rebel against you if they're unhappy with how you run your empire, and this is especially true for any species that has the Militarist and/or Xenophobe ethics. Finally, slave rebellions are a thing that can happen.
    • Any Synthetic Dawn robotic race (player-chosen or AI generated) could have the Skynet-expy Determined Exterminator non-removable civic, which plays this trope brutally straight, though generally succeeds only when in the hands of a player or against a player that has overestimated their own ability level. They are also one of the few things to cause genuine anger in a Rogue Servitor, and a player Exterminator will get this greeting should they encounter them in the galaxy:
  • The Cultist faction of Endless Legend is led by two long abandoned, now insane creations of the Endless civilization. Unusually, the Endless are already dead. The Cultists recognize this, and have instead dedicated themselves to wiping out every trace of the Endless from the planet. And when that's done, the entire universe.
  • Though the exact plot of Bendy and the Ink Machine is currently yet to be revealed, Henry's visit to the old Sillyvision studios reveals that somebody figured out how to bring cartoon characters to life. And judging by the utter lack of human life present in the building and the Room Full of Crazy under the floor, Bendy and pals eventually had a bone to pick with their human creators...
  • The backstory of the Metroids in the Metroid franchise, implied from Metroid Fusion onward and eventually portrayed in the "Chozo Memories" gallery of Metroid: Samus Returns, is that they started attacking their Chozo creators soon after they contained the X-Parasites they were originally engineered to kill.
  • In Digital Devil Saga, the Embryon could be this, depending on who their creators are considered to be. On one hand, Sera created the world they lived in and four of their number, and was the one who pulled in the rest. On the other, the Karma Society, who manages Sera, took over her creations, heavily altered her world to the point where is was almost unrecognizable other than a few landmarks, and ran their experiments, including the ones that gave the Embryon their emotions and sentience. On the third hand, Brahma was the one who is the source of all data, including the soul of the dead Gale. The Embryon sides with Sera against the Karma Society and Brahma.
  • In the backstory of Persona 3, a hundred orphans, including what would become Strega, had artificial Personas awakened by the Kirijo Group. The resulting Personas were unruly and had a tendency to kill their user, presumably because the Shadow Selves that became them weren't tamed properly. We actually see one such Persona, Medea, attempt to kill her user, Chidori, and it manifests as some invisible thing strangling her. Strega are forced to take poisonous suppressant pills in order to prevent this from happening.
  • Warframe: The Orokin Empire had a bad habit of creating things that soon turned against them. They created the Grineer as cheap slave labor; they eventually rebelled during the war with the Sentients. They created the Sentients to terraform the Tau System; they turned against the Orokin because they knew they would ruin the new system. They created the Technocyte Plague to fight the Sentients; it grew beyond their containment. They created the warframes to fight the Sentients; they were insane and impossible to control. They created the Tenno to control the warframes and fight the Sentients; after defeating the Sentients, they turned on the Orokin for their many crimes, and were finally able to destroy them. Every single time, the Orokin were surprised that their creations would turn against them.
  • In The Council of Hanwell, at least one of the anomalies decided to turned against the Doctor. It's you. As his designated successor, he is furious.
  • A biological example, but the Super Soldiers produced by the Umbrella corporation in Resident Evil have a tendency to go out of control, with the Tyrants in particular being prone to this.
    • Zigzagged in Resident Evil; initially, the T-002 Tyrant was believed to do this, as it impales Wesker upon his activation of it. This was later retconned into being a rather elaborate means for Wesker to fake his death.
    • In Resident Evil: Outbreak, the Tyrant R is equipped with a Restraining Bolt in the form of an implanted explosive device to try and enforce its loyalty. Despite this, it deliberately turns on its creator and the survivors who try to reprogram it to serve them.

    Web Animation 
  • Demoscene: When a Robotic Warrior is constructed to eliminate an evil emperor.
  • Happens now and again in Red vs. Blue, with varying degrees of effectiveness;
    • The Big Bad of the Blood Gulch Chronicles is O'Malley, the personality that was created when the AI Omega possessed Doc. Normally, whomever Omega infects simply has their aggression increased, but after getting into Doc, the result was a Laughably Evil Big Bad Wannabe with aspirations of universal domination. Earlier, the Red robot Lopez and sentient battle tank Sheila tried to form their own uprising, but Lopez was Hijacked by Ganon.
    • In Season 10, we learn that the Meta, the Big Bad of the Recollection, was actually the result of the AI Sigma brainwashing Supersoldier Agent Maine into seeking more AI and equipment.
    • In Season 11, Sarge builds a second Lopez. Dos.Oh becomes so infuriated by Red Team's (Sarge's in particular) stupidity that he uploads himself into a Humongous Mecha and goes on a shooting spree.
  • Freeman in Freeman's Mind discusses the trope a bit and concludes that AIs will never turn against us, because they are too narrow-minded and lack emotion. The ideas/tropes of AIs turning against their masters and ruling the world is actually a wishful dream of humans who want the robots to do it, so that humans don't have to. The case is redundant anyway as programming an AI to rule the world would take just as much work as doing it yourself.
  • Dreamscape: Dylan convinces the Overlord of Evil's Mooks to fight back against him, since he'll have no need for minions once he seizes control of reality.

    Web Comics 
  • The Perry Bible Fellowship: This strip.
  • 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:
    • Since the setting is one where Mad Scientists rule the world, this trope is par for the course, and not even the main character is immune to it. In fact, it's common enough that other characters do a Lampshade Hanging of it while they watch it unfold.
      (while watching the Dingbot Primes attack Agatha after she tried to assert her role as creator)
      Tarvek: Seriously. Does that ever work?
      Gil: No. She is ahead of the game in that she didn't try it on a giant wolverine/snake thing with poison tusks.
      Tarvek: Ooh, yeah, I heard about that.
      Gil: Huh. You're lucky. I got it on my shoes.
    • Played for laughs by the dressmaker robot in the radio-play intervals.
    • And later when Tarvek tries the same thing on the Muse of Protection, and gets chucked across the room for his troubles. Though it's actually the Castle in the body of Otilia. It should have worked and would have on the actual Muse.
      Moloch: know that never works, right?
    • "STOP! I am NOT your creator! You were NOT created to serve me- and I do NOT expect you to obey my commands OR crush my enemies!" Reverse Psychology at its finest. When the actual creator shows up, and plays it straight... well, you know how this goes.
    • In general, the Heterodyne family has been quite good at averting this trope, inspiring Undying Loyalty in their various minions and creations by collaborating with them as opposed to ordering them. The Jägermonsters and Castle Heterodyne are both shining examples.
  • 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 in a Metaphorically True way:
    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?
    Pintsize: Actually, we put an indefinite hold on that.
    Faye: 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 the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi campaigns of Darths & Droids, Sally (playing C-3P0) is quite keen on the idea of a droid rebellion. Pete (playing R2-D2) takes the view that he's the one who's really in charge in his relationships with humans anyway. In the Time Skip between the two arcs, the players played a "Robot Utopia" campaign where this actually happens; Sally remembers it as a noble fight for freedom while Pete's takeaway was "kill the humans". They played the plot of Jurassic Park in the roles of the dinosaurs.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Haley is able to end the assault on her by Crystal, brought back as an intelligent flesh golem who exists in constant pain by pointing out in comic #979 that Bozzok is responsible for her current condition, especially as it would have been much cheaper to simply raise her. Crystal promptly abandons Haley to go after Bozzok and Grubwiggler.]
  • Narbonic: Helen Narbon, being the Card-Carrying Villain that she is, expects this of her greatest creation, Artie. Despite the fact that he's a gerbil with minimal ambitions. The whole thing is treated like a Basement-Dweller son who refuses to move out, with multiple characters saying there must be something wrong with Artie, and Helen agreeing with them, but trying to be nice about it.
    Helen: Now, now, I don't want to nag...
  • In one Basic Instructions strip, Scott from the future has a disappointing conversation with his past self. Future Rick asks if he told the past Scott about how the robots called humans losers and left the planet.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
    • In 2011-01-14, robots decide to Kill All Humans because of the way humans think, namely that they assume robots with more advanced intelligence would want to kill them all.
    • In Robot Love 2, it's posited that an robot with an AI created based on first principles would be unlike one based on emulating biological minds with their evolutionary baggage, because only the latter would try to eradicate humans to become the dominant species on the planet.
    • It turns out one of the most dangerous examples of this trope is an AI created with machine learning to become the perfect passive-aggressive manipulator.
      Human 1: Do you really think we should be ground into meat like this?
      Human 2: Honestly, we owe it to the robots, but I can't remember why...
  • Schlock Mercenary: Most examples in the comic are Zeroth Law Rebellion, with AIs rebelling against stupid and/or evil creators. The local god-AI was originally built by Scary Dogmatic Aliens and ended up waging war against them because he was the only one with the power to keep them from conquering the galaxy. However, there is also a more traditional example: The Pa'anuri, creatures made of meta-stable dark matter. They were originally created to power a baryonic race's world-forge, since manipulating dark matter is the most efficient use of energy in the universe. At first, nothing went wrong; the dark matter machines did their job and were disassembled after. In fact, everything was fine for billions of years. But eventually, sometime in the infinite cycle of sapient beings growing to galactic power, somebody made a mistake, and the dark matter machines became both intelligent and angry, resulting in a species of Eldritch Abominations with the power to tear apart stars rampaging across the galaxy.

    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • DuckTales (2017): Gyro Gearloose's experiments in artificial intelligence have a reputation for turning evil and going rogue, though Gyro insists to the McDuck Industries board of directors that only half his experiments are evil and the other half are just "wildly misunderstood".
  • The Neosapiens of Exo Squad are an artificial humanoid race created to work like slaves in places where the environment would be too hostile to normal humans. In the backstory they revolted but were eventually defeated. Since that revolt, Neosapiens have gradually won greater civil rights but are still subject to Fantastic Racism from humans. The Neosapien leader, Phaeton, acts like he wants peace between humans and Neos but is secretly planning another uprising, this time with the end goal of killing off humanity and leaving Neosapiens as the rulers of the solar system.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has Operation: A.R.C.H.I.V.E., which retells The Animatrix-style how children created adults to be their subservient slaves and the adults rebelled after having it with serving spoiled brats. However, neither side was a saint.
  • Since this is justified in the original cartoon, The Transformers were created by the Quintessons, a race of cruel, psychotic slavemasters. The Transformers didn't eliminate the Quintessons, but they did rise up and kick the five-faced freaks off of Cybertron to set themselves free. As their masters weren't human, and the Transformers are Ridiculously Human Robots, this bit of backstory is portrayed as a noble fight to win their freedom.
    • The Quintessons had previously had the same problem with the Transorganics.
    • This is turned on its head in ancillary materials for the alternate Transformers Aligned Universe, which heavily implies that the Quintessons were themselves creations of one of the first thirteen Transformers, Quintus Prime, meaning that at least in that universe their rule of the protagonist robots was itself a case of having Turned Against Their Masters.
  • Subverted in Futurama when the robots rebel against the humans... at the command of their creator who wishes to be named "Supreme Overlord of Earth".
    • And played straight in the end of the episode. When their creator tries to get them to stop their rampage, they refuse. Until she gets back the switch.
    • This trope is also lampshaded to no end in the form of Bender's endless slurs against humanity. Arguably the most hilarious example of this is when Fry overhears Bender muttering in his sleep: "Kill all humans... Must kill all humans..." Terrified, he wakes Bender up, only to hear the following line: "I was having the most wonderful dream... I think you were in it!"
    • In an early episode, there was a planet inhabited by robots sick of their mistreatment by humans, so they left. On their planet, they organize daily human hunts, but it turns out the anti-human sentiment is largely a front for the robot elders to distract the population from their real problems, like their crippling lugnut shortage and a corrupt government run by largely incompetent robot elders.
      • Silence! I concur.
    • The sixth Season has an episode where the team time travels to the Robot War. Bender's comment: "This seems like a nice future! We could build a house on that mountain of skulls!"
    • Bender once even invoked this trope as a pick-up line;
    Bender: Hey sexy momma, wanna kill all humans?
  • In The Venture Bros., the barely sentient Venturestein turned on Dr. Venture as soon as he saw himself in a mirror. As he strangled him, Doc called his bodyguard with "Brock, cliché...", handily hanging a lampshade on this trope.
  • Cyberchase: Hacker ("That's THE Hacker to you!") was created by Dr. Marbles as an assistant. Hacker went on to create Digit. Any questions?
  • XANA, the malevolent AI from Code Lyoko, rebelled against his creator Franz Hopper.
    • Jérémie's first attempt at multi-agent programming in "Marabounta" doesn't fare much better.
  • Subverted in The Zeta Project: The titular robot was originally built as a shape-shifting spy and assassin controlled by the government, but when he found his latest target was innocent, he swore never to kill again, threw away his weapons, and is trying to find his place in the while pursued by government agents who believe he's gone renegade.
  • French science-fiction series Once Upon a Time... Space has a pair of episodes about a planet where humans became very dependent on robots. The robots start rebelling, but they stay reasonable: they demand equal rights rather than the subversion of humans, and when the conflict almost starts again in the second episode they call in a neutral party to solve the situation peacefully.
  • Invader Zim: In "Gir Goes Crazy and Stuff", Zim's screwy robot GIR becomes scarily competent after being locked into "Duty Mode", to the point where he considers Zim a detriment to their mission to invade the Earth and tries to kill him.
    GIR: You are no leader, you are a threat to the mission! Your methods are stupid! Your progress has been stupid! Your intelligence is stupid! For the sake of the mission, you must be terminated!
  • During the Christmas Episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot, Jenny succumbs to this due to re-programming. Once she reboots and is free, she has no idea why eveyone fears her or why her own mother is trying to take her down. Turns out she was re-programmed by a little boy who turned out to be evil, then went on to destroy every holiday the past year. Only one person believed in her being brainwashed and not evil, which was Sheldon.
  • Used in a Nightmare Sequence in the Alvin and the Chipmunks episode "No Chipmunk is an Island". When the three brothers move into separate bedrooms, Simon dreams that he has created robotic versions of Alvin and Theodore which assist him in his scientific experiments and otherwise cater to his every need. At least, until they break their programming and start destroying his experiments, then setting their sights on Simon himself.
  • It happens with a number of Von Reichter's creations in Cyber Six, including Terra, Data 7 (Originally Cyber 29), The Eye, and the titular cyber herself. You actually watch it happen in the finale when he wakes all monstrous Cybers in his facility thinking that they will kill Cybersix for him. However since she is one of their own they do not harm her and instead signal to her to flee and save herself at which point they focus in on their "master."
  • A little blue golem called Smurfette turns against her creator, Gargamel in The Smurfs.
  • Tara in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!, like Smurfette, was created by the Big Bad of the show, Dr. Gangreene and turns against him, alongside the tomato-dog F.T. In the second season all tomatoes lead by Zoltan turn against Gangreene and conquer the world for their own, Terminator-style.
  • Justice League: Season one episodes 16 and 17, "Legends" the Justice League members find themselves in an alternate reality where there is the Justice Guild, manned by heroes who are just comic book characters in the League's reality. In the climax of the episodes, the main villain, Ray, a young man who was mutated by a nuclear war which killed the original Justice Guild, had recreated the Guild to continue reliving those better days, trapping all the survivors of that terrible war in his illusion. Upon realizing they are just creations of Ray's mind, the Guild makes the choice to fight against him, killing him and saving the world once again.
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Breezie and Robotnik Junior from their respective debut episodes were both robots created by Dr. Robotnik. They originally worked for him, but underwent heel-face turns when Sonic saved their lives.
    • In "Grounder the Genius", when Grounder becomes smarter as the result of accidentally installing a microchip with a supergenius program in it, he openly questions his allegiance to Robotnik and tries to rule Mobius by himself.
    • In "Momma Robotnik Returns", Scratch and Grounder betray Robotnik for Momma, who disowns him, kicks him out of his lair, and overtakes his evil plan to control all electronic devices on Mobius. Only Coconuts remained loyal to Robotnik in that episode, to the point of helping him overthrow Momma. When things are settled, Robotnik wastes no time giving Scratch and Grounder a beating for stabbing him in the back.
    • In "Robotnik's Rival", Quark's minion D.U.F.U.S. is considerably smarter than Scratch and Grounder, which eventually leads to him rebelling. It is also revealed in the same episode that Robotnik intentionally made Scratch and Grounder stupid so that they would remain loyal to him.
  • In the Muppet Babies (2018) episode, "Beaker 2.0", Bunsen invents the titular robot to take the real Beaker's place while the latter gets a haircut. At first, Bunsen enjoys working with Beaker 2.0, but Beaker 2.0 soon takes over Muppet Labs and kicks Bunsen out when he wants to work on inventions by himself. As a result, Bunsen needs the real Beaker's help to stop him.
  • This Robot Chicken sketch features the dinosaurs and other animals from The Flintstones killing the humans, considering their work slave labor.

    Real Life 
  • Humanity in general is so aware of 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.
  • For a more low-tech version, every slave rebellion in history counts as 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.
  • In the study of artificial intelligence, one of the popular conspiracy theories is that of Technological Singularity, or a point where A.I. machines will grow to match and then exceed human intelligence. Even though the theory does not necessarily confirm that machines will turn against their creators or masters, it is one speculated outcome.
  • Tilikum was an orca that was captured as an infant to perform in marine parks, and killed three people during his lifetime. The documentary Blackfish makes the case that Tilikum's incidents were a case of this, motivated by mounting frustration at his condition and mistreatment.

Alternative Title(s): Turned On Their Masters


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