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) …
Weaver, Lex, Tao, Nigel
There exist a number of reinforcement learning algorithms which learnby climbing the gradient of expected reward. Their long-runconvergence has been proved, even in partially observableenvironments with non-deterministic actions, and without the need fora system model. However, the variance of the gradient estimator hasbeen found to be a significant practical problem. Recent approacheshave discounted future rewards, introducing a bias-variance trade-offinto the gradient estimate. We incorporate a reward baseline into thelearning system, and show that it affects variance without introducingfurther bias. In particular, as we approach the zero-bias,high-variance parameterization, the optimal (or variance minimizing)constant reward baseline is equal to the long-term average expectedreward. Modified policy-gradient algorithms are presented, and anumber of experiments demonstrate their improvement over previous work.