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) …
Lenat, Douglas, Guha, R. V.
After explicating the need for a large commonsense knowledge base spanning human consensus knowledge, we report on many of the lessons learned over the first five years of attempting its construction. We have come a long way in terms of methodology, representation language, techniques for efficient inferencing, the ontology of the knowledge base, and the environment and infrastructure in which the knowledge base is being built. We describe the evolution of Cyc and its current state and close with a look at our plans and expectations for the coming five years, including an argument for how and why the project might conclude at the end of this time.
Lenat, D. B. | Guha, R. V.