I'm in a function room at the Grand Hyatt Manchester in San Diego for O'Reilly's Emerging Technologies Conference, the people who brought you "Web 2.0" and many other desperately hip ideas that they constantly remind you of.
I just caught the tail-end of a talk about the Hunch Engine by Eric Bonabeau of Icosystem Corporation. The basic ingredients are a visualizer on some solution space, with a parameterized multi-demandingly clustering algorithm, and a random solution generator. Then a user (or users!) guide the system towards results they like better by click in the visualized space or fiddling with some sort of parameter control panel. Combinatorial chemistry approach general-purpose optimization. Guided evolution of search algorithms? Something like that.
I know that sounds like gibberish. It was pretty cool, though -- I guess you had to be there. Or you need to have seen some of the old Artificial Life environments and imagine using this to not breed screen critters, but to (say) choose a company name or design a wallpaper pattern.