There is some interesting work in artificial general intelligence (AGI). One of the 'crazy ones' is Ben Goertzel working at Novamente and with the Singularity Institute for AI. Here are some links to his work:
Pretty neat stuff. Quick summary of what I'm consumed: He's working on an intelligent agent that will interact in Second Life and 'learn' from its interactions. AGI is markedly more ambitious than what we normally see AI as (i.e., 'narrow AI'). Basically,
it aims to create an intelligence on par with human general intelligence. Arguably, this is the holy grail of AI even though it's not the moneymaker (and hence not usually as well-funded as narrow-AI research like what Google, etc. do).