Beyond Artificial Intelligence

Volume 9 of the series Topics in Intelligent Engineering and Informatics pp 121-131

Why Are We Afraid of Robots? The Role of Projection in the Popular Conception of Robots

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The popular conception of robots in fiction, film and the media, as humanoid monsters seeking the destruction of the human race, says little about the future of robotics, but a great deal about contemporary society’s anxieties. Through an examination of the psychoanalytic conception of projection, this essay will examine how robots, cyborgs, androids and AI are constructed in the popular imagination, particularly, how robots come to be feared because they provide unsuitable containers for human projections and how at least part of what we fear in robots is our own idealisation of reason, science and technology.


robots cyborgs artificial intelligence psychoanalysis projection uncanny valley