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) …
Language, vision, and music: What common cognitive patterns underlie our competence in these disparate modes of thought? Language (natural and formal), vision, and music seem to share at best the following attributes: a hierarchical organization of constituents, recursivity, metaphor, the possibility of self-reference, ambiguity, and systematicity. Can we propose the existence of a general symbol system with instantiations in these three modes, or is the only commonality to be found at the level of such entities as cerebral columnar automata?
This article is a report of the Eighth Ireland Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science (AICS-97), which was run in conjunction with the Irish Machine Vision and Image Processing Conference (IMVIP-97), held at the University of Ulster, Magee College in Derry / Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on 10 to 13 September 1997.