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) …
Particular attention is given to processes involving pattern recognition, learning, planning ahead, and the use of analogies or?models!. Second, we can often find simple machines which in certain situations do exhibit performances which would be called intelligent If done by a man. In attempting to design intelligent machines we are, in effect, concerned with the problems of "creativity". Usually the problem is not so much to find the basic structure (or the domain of things to try) as to find ways of reducing this structure to reasonable size.
This is a case study in problem-solving, representing part of a program of research on complex information-processing systems. We have specifieda system for finding proofs of theorems in elementary symbolic logic, and by programming a computer to these specifications, have obtained empirical data on the problem-solving process in elementary logic. The program is called the Logic Theory Machine (LT); it was devised to learn how it is possible to solve difficult problems such as proving mathematical theorems, discovering scientific laws from data, playing chess, or understanding the meaning of English prose.The research reported here is aimed at understanding the complexp rocesses (heuristics) that are effective in problem-solving. Hence, we are not interested in methods that guarantee solutions, but which require vastamounts of computation. Rather, we wish to understand how a mathematician, for example, is able to prove a theorem even though he does not know when he starts how, or if, he is going to succeed.Proceedings of the Western Joint Computer Conference, 15:218-239. Reprinted in Feigenbaum and Feldman, Computers and Thought (1963).