After a year of work, I am happy to say that this week I successfully defended my thesis. In my research I was primarily concerned with gathering empirical data regarding a particular question construction in Mandarin Chinese, and the results of my collections show the necessity of expanding current syntactic theories regarding this type of question.
My big thoughts about human-computer hybrid D&D have not left my head, but I've done plenty of talking the talk, so it's time to start walking the walk. I don't want to promise anything, but I know that if I don't work on this stuff it's going to drive me nuts. It's just a huge problem, you know? Figuring out where to start has been tricky, but I think the way in which I can improve my current game (has been on hiatus more or less since April, but starting up again after graduation) is to begin with data models of the player character, and with the "21st century character sheet", i.e. a webpage user interface which (a) displays character information in real time [although without any concept of rounds or turns yet], and (b) can be sent commands by me (and later by the server) in order to add stuff to inventory, represent spell effects, etc. This allows me to concentrate only on stuff will immediately provide value to my players while still working on a fundamental piece of the world-model, and while still getting me to dip my toes in such topics as dynamic website design, databases, user authorization ... though of course the bulk of the work will be encoding many of the game rules regarding player characters into code constructs.
Plenty to do just on this topic.