Some areas where bots are growing strong:
1. Microsoft just launched their November CTP for the Robotics Studio. It allows you to program a real bot plus it has a nice simulation tool running on top of DirectX. It also allows you to program web based interfaces for controlling bots remotely.
2. Lego Mindstorms is a great "toy" for kids. It has a nice visual programming tool with a simulation space as well. The bots and software are rather expensive but it seems to be a wonderful introductory programming tool for kids with results they can see on real life. They can program their toys, love this!
3. IM bots are getting better. Microsoft closed in September their contest and there seem to be some nice entries. It has to get a lot smarter than it is now. A big natural language interpretation challenge, but nice examples and a lot of potential. IKEA has Anna that does a not too bad job as help desk. Help desk bots is an area that will sure just expand. I remember being on the phone with first line of support for products such as wireless network adapters, and really I would have been better off talking with a bot than a person like the one I had on the phone. You will still need your second line of support, but for sure it can save you a lot.