If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
"A computer program capable of acting intelligently in the world must have a general representation of the world in terms of which its inputs are interpreted. Designing such a program requires commitments about what knowledge is and how it is obtained. Thus, some of the major traditional problems of philosophy arise in artificial intelligence.More specifically, we want a computer program that decides what to do by inferring in a formal language that a certain strategy will achieve its assigned goal. This requires formalizing concepts of causality, ability, and knowledge. Such formalisms are also considered in philosophical logic." - from the Introduction reprinted in Matthew Ginsberg (ed.), Readings in Nonmonotonic Reasoning, pp. 26-45, San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc., 1987.Stanford web version. D. Michie and B. Meltzer (Eds.), Machine intelligence 4 - Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 463-502
"A computer program has been written which can formulate hypotheses from a given set of scientific data. The data consist of the mass spectrum and the empirical formula of an organic chemical compound. The hypotheses which are produced describe molecular structures which are plausible explanations of the data. The hypotheses are generated systematically within the program's theory of chemical stability and within limiting constraints which are inferred from the data by heuristic rules. The program excludes hypotheses inconsistent with the data and lists its candidate explanatory hypotheses in order of decreasing plausibility. The computer program is heuristic in that it searches for plausible hypotheses in a small subset of the total hypothesis space according to heuristic rules learned from chemists."In Meltzer, B., Michie, D., and Swann, M. (Eds.), Machine Intelligence 4, pp. 209-254. Edinburgh University Press
Note: PDF of full volume downloadable by clicking on title above (32.8 MB). Selected individual chapters available from the links below.CONTENTSINTRODUCTORY MATERIALMATHEMATICAL FOUNDATIONS1 Program scheme equivalences and second-order logic. D. C. COOPER 32 Programs and their proofs: an algebraic approach.R. M. BURSTALL and P. J. LANDIN 173 Towards the unique decomposition of graphs. C. R. SNOW andH. I. SCOINS 45THEOREM PROVING4 Advances and problems in mechanical proof procedures. D. PRAWITZ 595 Theorem-provers combining model elimination and Tesolution.D. W. LOVELAND 736 Semantic trees in automatic theorem-proving. R. KOWALSKI andP. J. HAYES 877 A machine-oriented logic incorporating the equality relation.E. E. SIBERT 1038 Paramodulation and theorem-proving in first-order theories withequality. G. ROBINSON and L. Wos 1359 Mechanizing higher-order logic. J. A. ROBINSON 151DEDUCTIVE INFORMATION RETRIEVAL10 Theorem proving and information retrieval. J. L. DARLINGTON 17311 Theorem-proving by resolution as a basis for question-answeringsystems. C. CORDELL GREEN 183MACHINE LEARNING AND HEURISTIC PROGRAMMING12 Heuristic dendral: a program for generating explanatory hypothesesin organic chemistry. B. BUCHANAN, G. SUTHERLAND andE. A. FEIGENBAUM 20913 A chess-playing program. J. J. SCOTT 25514 Analysis of the machine chess game. I. J. GOOD 26715 PROSE—Parsing Recogniser Outputting Sentences in English.D. B. VIGOR, D. URQUHART and A. WILKINSON 27116 The organization of interaction in collectives of automata. 285V. I. VARSHAVSKY COGNITIVE PROCESSES: METHODS AND MODELS17 Steps towards a model of word selection. G. R. Kiss 31518 The game of hare and hounds and the statistical study of literaryvocabulary. S. H. STOREY and M. A. MAYBREY 33719 The holophone —recent developments. D. J. WILLSHAW andH. C. LONGUET-HIGGINS 349PATTERN RECOGNITION20 Pictorial relationships — a syntactic approach. M. B. CLOWES 36121 On the construction of an efficient feature space for optical characterrecognition. A. W. M. COOMBS 38522 Linear skeletons from square cupboards. C. J. HILDITCH 403PROBLEM-ORIENTED LANGUAGES23 Absys 1: an incremental compiler for assertions; an introduction.J. M. FOSTER and E. W. ELCOCK 423PRINCIPLES FOR DESIGNING INTELLIGENT ROBOTS24 Planning and generalisation in an automaton/environment system.J. E. DORAN 43325 Freddy in toyland. R. J. POPPLESTONE 45526 Some philosophical problems from the standpoint of artificialintelligence. J. MCCARTHY and P. J. HAYES 463INDEX 505 Machine Intelligence Workshop
Note: PDF of full volume downloadable by clicking on title above (26 MB). Selected individual chapters available from the links below. CONTENTSINTRODUCTION MATHEMATICAL FOUNDATIONS1 The morphology of prex—an essay in meta-algorithmics. J. LAS KS 32 Program schemata. M. S. PATE RSON 193 Language definition and compiler validation. J. J. FLORENTIN 334 Placing trees in lexicographic order. H. I.S COINS 43 THEOREM PROVING5 A new look at mathematics and its mechanization. B. M ELTZER 636 Some notes on resolution strategies. B. MELTZER 717 The generalized resolution principle. J. A. ROBINSON 778 Some tree-paring strategies for theorem proving. D.LUCKHAM 959 Automatic theorem proving with equality substitutions andmathematical induction. J. L. D ARLINGTON 113 MACHINE LEARNING AND HEURISTIC PROGRAMMING10 On representations of problems of reasoning about actions.S.AMAREL 13111 Descriptions. E.W.ELCOCK 17312 Kalah on Atlas. A.G.BELL 18113 Experiments with a pleasure-seeking automaton: J. E. DORAN 19514 Collective behaviour and control problems. V.I.VARSHAVSKY 217 MAN—MACHINE INTERACTION15 A comparison of heuristic, interactive, and unaided methods ofsolving a shortest-route problem. D.MICHIE, J. G. FLEMING andJ. V.OLDFIELD 24516 Interactive programming at Carnegie Tech. A.H.BOND 25717 Maintenance of large computer systems—the engineer's assistant.M.H.J.BAYLIS 269 COGNITIVE PROCESSES: METHODS AND MODELS18 The syntactic analysis of English by machine. J.P.THORNE,P.BRATLEY and H.DEWAR 28119 The adaptive memorization of sequences. H.C.LONOUETHIGGINSand A.ORTONY 311 PATTERN RECOGNITION20 An application of Graph Theory in pattern recognition.C.J.HILDITCH 325 PROBLEM-ORIENTED LANGUAGES21 Some semantics for data structures. D. PARK 35122 Writing search algorithms in functional form. R.M.BURSTALL 37323 Assertions: programs written without specifying unnecessaryorder. J.M.FOSTER 38724 The design philosophy of Pop-2. R.J.POPPLESTONE 393 INDEX 403 Machine Intelligence Workshop