Frankenstein complex

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Coined by American science fiction author Isaac Asimov in 1947 in his novelette Little Lost Robot. From Victor Frankenstein, the title character of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein.


Frankenstein complex (plural Frankenstein complexes)

  1. The fear that an artificial intelligence will turn against humans.
    • 1947 March, Asimov, Isaac, “Little Lost Robot”, in Astounding Science Fiction, volume 39, number 1, page 116:
      I'll admit that this Frankenstein Complex you're exhibiting has a certain justification—hence the First Law in the first place.
    • 1987 December, Bujold, Lois McMaster, “Falling Free”, in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, volume 108, number 13, page 30:
      Mr. Graf, you're still disturbed. You sure you're not harboring just a little of the old Frankenstein complex about all this? It's all right to admit it to me—in fact, I want you to talk about it.
    • 1992, Segen, Joseph C., The Dictionary of Modern Medicine, →ISBN, page 234:
      The central character of Mary Shelley's novel by the same name 'Frankenstein' is used as an adjective in a variety of biomedical contexts, eg. Frankenstein complex The fear that machines via artificial intelligence may replace physicians