Yes, you read that correctly—Honda ASIMO robot that has less K.Y.!
K.Y. is short for “Kuuki ga Yomenai,” literally meaning ‘not reading the air,’ is the Japanese need to read the atmosphere or catch the vibe of a situation without words. Young people in Japan are often badmouthed as being rudely K. Y.
Since ASIMO’s release in 2000, Honda has been striving to improve their K.Y.-acting, rude boy robot that unknowingly would shake a person’s hand and clomp around blindly in bipedal locomotion that would get in everyone’s way. Now ASIMO acts more grown up and polite. In the video from FNN Headline News (only in Japanese) you can see ASIMO recognize faces, avoid getting in the way in the hallway, and act deferent and polite. All in all behaving like good a Japanese—He’s become an evolved grown-up robot “that can read air” [空気を読め].
As for the “roboButtsecks” part video…. Honda also has worked on making ASIMO much more independent both personality-wise and in its energy needs. In the FNN video at 3:04, you will see ASIMO seek out as special electrical outlet, back up to it, bend over slightly, and get plugged in his robobutt.
Click to watch ASIMO roboButtsecks via FNN Headline News (in Japanese) as a WindowsMedia video in high or low format, or as REAL Media video in high or low format.
A reader just found Prior Art for ASIMO’s robobuttsecks!
Here is a Superman comic from the 1950s with Lois Lane’s complaining the morning after robot buttsecks.
Note that as of 2007, there are 46 ASIMO in existence. Each one costs less than $1 million to manufacture, and some units are available to be hired out for $166,000 per year. Wait, for $166,000 per year I will gladly “read the air” and back up politely to an electrical outlet.