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) …
Originally it was Complex Information Processing. Complex Information processing lives on now only in the title of the CIP Working Papers, a series started by Herb Simon in 1956 and still accumulating entries (to 447). However, from about 1965 much of the work on artificial intelligence that was not related to psychology began to appear in technical reports of the Computer Science Department. Starting in the early 1970s (on one can recall exactly when), they did become the subject of a general mailing and thus began to form what everyone thinks of as the CMU Computer Science Technical Reports.
This is the first presidential address of AAAI, the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. In the grand scheme of history of artificial intelligence (AI), this is surely a minor event. But it is too much to expect a presidential address to have a major impact. Only two foci are really possible for a presidential address: the state of the society or the state of the science.