This TED presentation by Torsten Reil will really blow your mind. His company NaturalMotion works to create animated characters from the inside out. Instead of animating with key frames or motion capture techniques, these guys use Biology to create a virtual person with bones, muscles, and a nervous system. Then, using what they call “artificial evolution,” they teach the character how to react to differing situations. The technique is very powerful. The implications for life-like characters for games are obvious, but Torsten also talks about using these characters for digital stuntmen.
I will warn you, though. If you believe in any of the sci-fi “computers will take over the world” type of stuff, this may freak you out a bit. Seeing the robot trying to escape from chains is pretty weird. Of course, the really weird part is that this presentation is from 2003. Wow!