In Star Trek: Picard (2020), Synths (AI robots)

attacked Mars at large scale

which led to their ban by the Federation. But, it later turned out that Romulans (a natural species) were behind this to falsely defame Synths so that they can be banned.

This wasn't my first encounter with this. In the Doctor Who episode Kerblam (2018), similar plot was shown.

Interestingly, I can't remember any earlier instance of this despite seeing countless stories showing hate against AIs. I can't believe that this concept of falsely defaming AI is new.

Which Sci-Fi work first showed the plot of falsely defaming AI?

  • Can you specify what you mean by defamed? The example with the synths suggests you're including cases of initially benign A.I.s that were reprogrammed by someone with malicious intent, is that right?
    – Hypnosifl
    Jul 11, 2020 at 22:39
  • @Hypnosifl Yes. The reprogramming is done in secret so that people would assume that it was a malfunction. A very dangerous malfunction.
    – user931
    Jul 11, 2020 at 22:42
  • @user14111 Accusations are not plots.
    – user931
    Jul 12, 2020 at 0:47
  • Machine Circulatory Liquid libel is a serious crime! Jul 12, 2020 at 10:41

1 Answer 1


In The Caves of Steel (1953) by Isaac Asimov, many people on Earth hate robots, fearing that they will take their jobs. There is a faction of "Medievalists" who want to get rid of them. In contrast are the Spacers, who are from the colonies founded when Earth was still founding them. They want Earth to accept robots, and think people will be more comfortable with robots that look just like humans. (You can imagine how that turned out.)

New York City Police Commissioner Julius Enderby partners Detective Elijah Baley with R. Daneel Olivaw, one of these "humaniform" robots, to solve the murder of Roj Nemmenuh Sarton, a Spacer ambassador. Baley incorrectly accuses Olivaw of being the murderer, twice.

But Enderby is a Medievalist himself, and also the actual killer. As part of a series of escalating actions to deflect suspicion for away from himself, he spreads a rumor that humaniform robots have infiltrated the Medievalists.

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