River and I have already discovered alien life!
Thanks to a tip from a coworker today, I discovered Project Jarvis -- created ironically by someone who reportedly works (or worked) for the very same company that I do.
Project Jarvis is about a year old, and already does pretty much everything that I eventually want Project River to do.
Unfortunately Project Jarvis is written in AppleScript and is therefore restricted to running on a Mac. Because I use Windows exclusively (for a variety of reasons), I am unable to to put Project Jarvis to use -- besides the fact that it is not released for others to use and is instead (like River), a personal project of the creator.
The creator of Project Jarvis is creating his first commercial product that will be cross-platform, but I have a hunch this will not be open source, and as a result, not allow me to expand and build my own modules.
I have scoured the internet today for other "Digital Life Assistants" (as Jarvis is dubbed). Everything I found was either abandoned while still in it's infancy, or written in an obscure language and not open source (such as this DOS version of J.A.R.V.I.S).
Because I've failed to find any sufficient open-source implementation of something equivalent to Project River, I have decided to continue on developing my project. Because I've found nothing out there, I think I will put up a Sourceforge or Google Code page at some point in the near future. The only thing holding me back from doing so is fear of embarrassment. Because I am still a novice C++ programmer, I fear that my code would only draw criticism and be unusable by anyone else working towards the same goal. For that reason, I will hold off until I get a more advanced grasp on the language, and have a better codebase to share.
However, if anyone would like to collaborate, and knows some C++ and has no quarrels working with someone who is learning as they go, then please feel free to contact me! I would love some help on River, or to share ideas and resources if you are working on something similar.