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) …
"Why don't you click on the tennis court?" Golan Levin, an associate professor of art at Carnegie Mellon University, suggested. I was looking at a satellite image of the school's campus in Pittsburgh, embedded in the home page of Levin's latest online project, Terrapattern. "What you should immediately see are all the most tennis-court-ish patches of Allegheny County," he said. With gratifying speed, the right-hand side of my screen filled with dozens and dozens of tennis courts--solo or in pairs or in clusters of six, white on green, purple on green, green on red.
On a very warm afternoon in April, the image of a bald young white man's head floated on a gray screen at the Kitchen, in Chelsea. The man spoke in a tone that shifted worryingly between aggressive and confessional, punctuating his lines with two disembodied hands. "And I could have been your haruspex, sexy," he said at one point, snarling. "I could have read omens in your extricated liver." There were pale red marks beneath his eyes, a five-o'clock shadow on his jaw.