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) …
Bachant, Judith, McDermott, John
In 1980, Digital Equipment Corporation began to use a rule-based system called R1 by some and XCON by others to configure VAX-11 computer systems. In the intervening years, R1's knowledge has increased substantially and its usefulness to Digital continues to grow. This article describes what is involved in extending R1's performance during the four year period.