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) …
This paper describes a computer system for understanding English. It is based on the belief that in modeling language understanding, we must deal in an integrated way with all of the aspects of language--syntax, semantics, and inference. It enters into a dialog with a person, responding to English sentences with actions and English replies, asking for clarification when its heuristic programs cannot understand a sentence through the use of syntactic, semantic, contextual, and physical knowledge. By developing special procedural representations for syntax, semantics, and inference, we gain flexibility and power.