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 listing is intended as an introduction to the literature on Artificial Intelligence, i.e., to the literature dealing with the problem of making machines behave intelligently. We have divided this area into categories and cross-indexed the references accordingly. Large bibliographies without some classification facility are next to useless. This particular field is still young, but there are already many instances in which workers have wasted much time in rediscovering (for better or for worse) schemes already reported. In the last year or two this problem has become worse, and in such a situation just about any information is better than none. This bibliography is intended to serve just that purpose-to present some information about this literature. The selection was confined mainly to publications directly concerned with construction of artificial problem-solving systems. Many peripheral areas are omitted completely or represented only by a few citations.IRE Trans. on Human Factors in Electronics, HFE-2, pages 39-55