I would call this the mechanical turk model of crowd sourced, collective intelligence, and I’ve been working on something like it for quite some time at Meta-Guide.com. In particular, check out my video presentation from Chatbots 3.2 – Philadelphia. Typically, question answering systems are based on question answer pairs. Question answer pairs may be crowd sourced, and then form the foundation for a conversational agent knowledgebase.
I’m actually hopping mad at Twitter for effectively closing their API with OAuth; because, I was very close to a non-stop question answering system, sourcing both questions AND answers on Twitter itself…. I’m firmly convinced that the answers to most questions on Twitter have already been posted to Twitter, historically speaking. In fact, most questions about most things have already been posted to Twitter, historically speaking.
There is a whole class of commercial SMS “bots” or agents, that may really be mechanical turks on the back end, probably using crowd sourced replies, offering to provide quick answers to virtually any question for a price, such as Ask Bongo (Q&A system).