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) …
Doyle, J. | Patil, R.
McDermott, D. | Doyle, J.
'Non-monotonic' logical systems are logics in which the introduction of new axioms can invalidate old theorems. Such logics are very important in modeling the benefits of active processes which, acting in the presence of incomplete information, must make and subsequently revise assumptions in light of new observations. We present the motivation and history of such logics. We develop model and proof theories, a proof procedure, and applications for one non-monotonic logic. In particular, we prove the completeness of the non-monotoic predicate calculus and the decidability of the non-monotonic sentential calculus. We also discuss characteristic properties of this logic and its relationship to stronger logics, logics of incomplete information, and truth maintenance systems.Artificial Intelligence 13:41-72
To choose their actions, reasoning programs must be able to make assumptions and subsequently revise their beliefs when discoveries contradict these assumptions. The Truth Maintenance System (TMS) is a problem solver subsystem for performing these functions by recording and maintaining the reasons for program beliefs. Such recorded reasons are useful in constructing explanations of program actions and in guiding the course of action of a problem solver. This paper describes (1) the representations and structure of the TMS, (2) the mechanisms used to revise the current set of beliefs, (3) how dependency-directed backtracking changes the current set of assumptions, (4) techniques for summarizing explanations of beliefs, (5) how to organize problem solvers into "dialectically arguing" modules, (6) how to revise models of the belief systems of others, and (7) methods for embedding control structures in patterns of assumptions. We stress the need of problem solvers to choose between alternative systems of beliefs, and outline a mechanism by which a problem solver can employ rules guiding choices of what to believe, what to want, and what to do.Artificial Intelligence 12(3):231-272