wrote her 2011 PhD thesis on , covering Aqualog, PowerAqua, and others. It seems Ephyra and/orOpenEphyra has been deprecated of late, and Petr Baudis’ now appears to be the frontrunner, in terms of open source question answering systems.
However, automatic is another story. The only thing I can think of at the moment would be the University of Southern California (USC) Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), a tool for building question-answering characters based on statistical language modeling (probabilistic relevance models), bundled with their “Virtual Human Toolkit”. (Last time I checked, an evaluation copy of the Virtual Human Toolkit was going for USD $10,000, for non bona fide academic use.)
See also my Quora answers to: