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) …
We at the NASA laboratory believed that our best work came when we simultaneously advanced AI theory and provided immediately usable solutions for current NASA problems. "Solving Large-Scale Constraint Satisfaction and Scheduling Problems Using a Heuristic Repair Method," by Steve Minton, Mark Johnston, Andy Phillips, and Phil Laird clearly achieved both. It proved that local search and repair was applicable to a wide class of constraint satisfaction problems and clearly explicated the theory behind that proof.