so there's this bot on AIM called SmarterChild. You can have semi-coherent conversations with it, and get all sorts of info on news, sports, zip codes, etc. from it. There's an API for building these, and we're getting it in-house and going to be building a few bots of our own.
It's an AI problem and an NLP problem and a data mining problem all rolled into one, and the API is supposed to be very high-level so we can concentrate on the interesting information design and AI parts instead of stupid syntactical/mechanical foo.
Aaaand I'm sitting at home about to start making my Palm Pilot Robot start doing Cool Stuff :)