machine intelligence

The Frankenstein Factor in IT – Therapy needed for our AI Future

New report on Machine Intelligence by SogetiLabs addressing the fear of Artificial Intelligence and how organizations should handle it.

Paris, France, 2 May, 2017 – We are on the threshold of an extraordinary development that makes the automation heart beat faster. Recent announcements by both Facebook and tech pioneer Elon Musk to build brain interfaces are great examples. But together with the expanding possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI), emotions run higher and higher. A new report from SogetiLabs 'The Frankenstein Factor: the Anatomy of Fear of AI' recommends taking these emotions seriously and pleads for a therapeutic approach. A focus on IT efficiency and effectiveness should be accompanied by a focus on human existence.

Taking fear seriously
The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution in February 2017, that seamlessly connects Mary Shelley's novel 'Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus' with the emergence of robots and smart algorithms. The resolution addresses, among other things, the dehumanization when caretaking robots take over human tasks. It proposes that robot engineers sign a code of conduct respecting the 'dignity, privacy and safety' of people. Members of the European Parliament fear artificial intelligence will ultimately affect the intrinsic European and humanistic values.

Menno van Doorn, Research Director of SogetiLabs:
"The important signal we send is that there is an advantage that can be gained if the emotional relationships are included in the AI plans of an organization. There are examples that simply placing a humanoid robot at a reception desk already causes great consternation. An action intended as an inspiring gimmick – go and play with a robot – may be misunderstood. Of the same category is the use of certain images of robots in a PowerPoint presentation that somehow come across as being creepy and steer the meeting in an unintended direction."

What would Elon do?
On April 19th Facebook announced it is going to build brain-computer interfaces that can turn thoughts into text. Three weeks earlier, tech pioneer Elon Musk said his new company Neuralink will directly link human minds to computers. Musk says this would permit both telepathy between people and advantageous relations with artificial intelligence.

"It is tempting to see Elon Musk as the modern Prometheus, the new Dr. Frankenstein. But we need to be aware of our basic instincts and how the Frankenstein Factor triggers fear. As already described by psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Ernst Jentsch, fear is automatically triggered when we are faced with Androids and Automata. Dealing with those Hollywood fears and our basic responses is one thing that CIO's need to learn to master," commented Menno van Doorn.

Organizations should ask themselves the question 'What would Elon do?' when they start working with AI. And what we learn from Elon Musk is that he is constantly present at both ends of the spectrum: discussing his fears and opening the debate, as some kind of therapy, and investing and learning as quick as he can as an entrepreneur.

Addressing questions such as “How do we make AI transparent to the end consumers?”, “How do we use AI to derive the best outcomes for end consumers?”, “How do we use AI to drive our desired business outcomes?”, will be key for organization moving forward.

The report describes four Frankenstein Factors that can be downloaded here:

A series of reports on Machine Intelligence
The Frankenstein Factor: the Anatomy of Fear of AI" is the third in a series of four qualitative research reports on the topic of Machine Intelligence. The series started with a first executive introduction to MI, followed by a second report about the combination of AI and messenger platforms, 'The Bot Effect: Friending a Brand'. The fourth and final report will be on the topic of Algorithmic Businesses. All Sogeti reports can be found at

About Sogeti

Part of the Capgemini Group, Sogeti makes business value through technology for organizations that need to implement innovation at speed and want a local partner with global scale. With a hands-on culture and close proximity to its clients, Sogeti implements solutions that will help organizations work faster, better, and smarter. By combining its agility and speed of implementation through a DevOps approach, Sogeti delivers innovative solutions in quality engineering, cloud and application development, all driven by AI, data and automation.

Capgemini is a global leader in partnering with companies to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology. The Group is guided everyday by its purpose of unleashing human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future. It is a responsible and diverse organization of over 350,000 team members in more than 50 countries. With its strong 55-year heritage and deep industry expertise, Capgemini is trusted by its clients to address the entire breadth of their business needs, from strategy and design to operations, fueled by the fast evolving and innovative world of cloud, data, AI, connectivity, software, digital engineering and platforms. The Group reported in 2021 global revenues of €18 billion.

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About SogetiLabs
SogetiLabs is a network of over 120 technology leaders from Sogeti worldwide. SogetiLabs covers a wide range of digital technology expertise: from embedded software, cyber security, simulation, and cloud to business information management, mobile apps, analytics, testing, and the Internet of Things. The focus is always on leveraging technologies, systems and applications in actual business situations to maximize results. SogetiLabs provides insight, research, and inspiration through articles, presentations, and videos that can be downloaded via the extensive SogetiLabs presence on its website, online portals, and social media. For more information please visit

  • Menno van Doorn
    Menno van Doorn
    SogetiLabs Director
    +31 6 51 27 09 85
  • Therese Sinter - Scandinavia, ENG
    Therese Sinter
    Marketing & Communications Director,
    +46 70 361 46 21

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