A classic in AI and robotics by Rodney Brooks (MIT prof, co-founder of iRobots):
There is an alternative route to Artificial Intelligence that diverges from the directions pursued under that banner for the last thirty some years. The traditional approach has emphasized the abstract manipulation of symbols, whose grounding, in physical reality has rarely been achieved. We explore a research methodology which emphasizes ongoing physical interaction with the environment as the primary source of constraint on the design of intelligent systems. We show how this methodology has recently had significant successes on a par with the most successful classical efforts. We outline plausible future work along these lines which can lead to vastly more ambitious systems.
I'm particularly interested in how such biological techniques can be applied to software. Rather than perform rigid omnipotent symbolic reasoning, autonomous agents could instead react and behave to their environment, where global software behavior emerges.