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) …
The program analyses carefully the initial situation. It creates some plans and tries to execute them. It analyses the situations deeper in the tree only if the plan fails. In that case it generates new plans correcting what is wrong in the old one. So, the program considers only natural branches of the tree. It can find combinations for which it is necessary to look more than twenty ply ahead. The paper describes the methods used for analyzing a situation and for modifying unsuccessful plans. Then we examine some results found by the program.Artificial Intelligence 8 (1977), 275-321
A general game-playing program must know the rules of the particular playing game. These rules are:(1) an algorithm indicating the winning state;(2) an algorithm enumerating legal moves. A move gives a set of changes from the present situation.There are two means of giving these rules:(1) We can write a subroutine which recognizes if we have won and another which enumerates legal moves. Such a subroutine is a black box giving to the calling program the answer: 'you win' or 'you do not win', or the list of legal moves. But it cannot know what is in that subroutine.(2) We can also define a language in which we describe the rules of a game. The program investigates the rules written with this language and finds some indications to improve its play. Artificial Intelligence and Heuristic Programming Edinburgh University Press
We study some aspects of a general game-playing program. Such a program receives as data the rules of a game: an algorithm enumerating the moves and an algorithm indicating how to win. The program associates to each move the conditions necessary for this move to occur. It must find how to avoid a dangerous move. We describe the part of the program playing the combinatorial game in order to win: how it can find the moves which lead to victory and what are the only opponent's moves with which he does not lose. This program has been tried with various games: chess, tic-tac-too, etc.INFORMATION PROCESSING 68 - NORTH-HOLLAND PUBLISHING COMPANY - AMSTERDAM