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In Marvel's The Avengers (2012), Tony Stark is on the phone with Agent Phil Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D., but is trying to ignore him and says "You have reached the Life-Model Decoy of Tony Stark".

However, LMD's are not introduced until Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which came out after The Avengers. How does Tony Stark know about Life-Model Decoys?

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This will be a speculative answer because the sum total of information about Tony Stark’s association was already given in your question without supporting details ever having been revealed:

"You have reached the Life-Model Decoy of Tony Stark."

Tony Stark obviously knows about LMD’s. So how?

The program is not new.

We learn in Agents of Shield, Season 4 Episode 12 “Hot Potato Soup,” that Billy and Sam Koenig participated in the original Life-Model Decoy Program of S.H.I.E.L.D. as programmers and technicians.

As the Wiki notes:

"However, despite their efforts, they never managed to create a fully functional android, so the project was eventually abandoned."

No doubt Stark, with Stark Enterprises' long association with SHIELD affairs, gained knowledge of that program’s history. Speculating any more than that such as how he came by that knowledge would be fan fiction at this time.

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    It's also possible that he said as a complete joke, and then when S.H.I.E.L.D. started developing them, he and/or others in S.H.I.E.L.D. thought "Hey, that term in that joke would be a good name for the thing we're developing". So it would be similar to asking "When those people made the porno film, how did they know the Watergate source would be named 'Deep Throat'?" or "How did the people who made Barbarella know there was going to be a band named 'Duran Duran'?" Dec 23, 2021 at 4:59
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    Maybe both Tony and SHIELD got the term from reading old Marvel comics?
    – Cadence
    Dec 23, 2021 at 5:40
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    @Acccumulation it is a very Tony thing to make up on the spot. Life model decoy being analogous to an answering machine in this context just more advanced.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Dec 23, 2021 at 17:23
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    Oh, they knew. They knew. Dec 23, 2021 at 17:25

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