The title "Paranoid Android" comes from the book series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. Specifically, it comes from the character Marvin the Paranoid Android, who's plagued with ennui due to his "brain the size of a planet" that could never be utilized adequately. However, Marvin is not really paranoid at all—another character, Zaphod, just calls him that.
The humorous source of the title is reflected in the playful sound and creation of the song. In 1997, singer Thom Yorke told an interviewer from Canadian website Jam! that "the title was chosen as a joke. It was like, 'Oh, I'm so depressed.' And I just thought, that's great. That's how people would like me to be. And that was the end of writing about anything personal in the song."
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