We see AI doctors in Sci-Fi works all the time. Examples can be the famous medical droids of Star Wars (first encounter 1980):

GH-7 Medical Droid 2-1B Surgical Droid enter image description here
Click images to enlarge.

The Doctor (Emergency Medical Hologram Mark I) from Star Trek: Voyager (1995) is an even better example because it didn't have a physical body. I believe I've also encountered AI doctors in Doctor Who several times, but I can't recall an example.

Which Sci-Fi work first explored the concept of an AI doctor?

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    @DavidW Physical body is not necessary. But, if it's a robot, it needs to be self aware (complete AI).
    – user931
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 15:24
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    You would definitely need to give evidence that the Star Wars medical droids were self-aware. Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 16:10
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    I've rolled back your edit, those images are massive so we don't want them taking up the whole page.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 16:32
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    Rex by Harl Vincent (1934) features a robot surgeon who becomes self aware
    – Danny Mc G
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 17:23
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    @CaptainCold That’s imgur acting up but I’d rather have a black background than a massive image.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:18

2 Answers 2


"The Little Black Bag" by Cyril Kornbluth (1950) featured a set of futuristic medical tools sent from the future to the present day (as of writing). These tools were sufficiently automated and intelligent enough to allow an untrained 18-year-old to use them.


The "autodoc" appeared in many stories set in Larry Niven's "Known Space" future history setting

Niven's first use of the term "autodoc" is in his short story "The Warriors", which appeared in Worlds of If in 1966 (and which incidentally is the first appearance of the Kzinti).

Jim Davis had come into view. The Angel’s Pencil had left Earth when he was twenty-seven; now he was a slightly paunchy thirty-eight, the oldest man on board, an amiable man with abnormally long, delicate fingers. His grandfather, with the same hands, had been a world-famous surgeon. Nowadays surgery was normally done by autodocs, and the arachnodactyls were to Davis merely an affliction.

  • To repeat: Note that this was specifically the intent of my request for clarification, and the OP expressly ruled it out as an answer. (I even referenced the term "autodoc.")
    – DavidW
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:20
  • @DavidW This sort of situation is why deleting a reasonable answer is usually a bad idea. Anyway, to paraphrase Valorum from the commentary on this question, OP is invariably wrong about everything.
    – Spencer
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:37
  • I guess that makes sense, even if it seems a bit crufty. On the other hand it wasn't my intention to pressure Zeiss Ikon into deleting the previous answer either, and if the situation were reversed I likely would have deleted an answer of mine for the same reason...
    – DavidW
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 18:58
  • @DavidW I've received more than one lecture about responding to a question as it appears in OP. Also, Captain Cold's reply to your request in comments, rather than in the question itself, would have resulted in several downvotes on many other SE sites.
    – Spencer
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:12
  • @spencer Niven's stories were my first thought as well, but Keith Laumer had something very similar in A Plague of Demons in 1965.
    – LAK
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 2:29

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