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) …
Continuing his exploration of the organization of complexity and the science of design, this new edition of Herbert Simon's classic work on artificial intelligence adds a chapter that sorts out the current themes and tools -- chaos, adaptive systems, genetic algorithms -- for analyzing complexity and complex systems. There are updates throughout the book as well. These take into account important advances in cognitive psychology and the science of design while confirming and extending the book's basic thesis: that a physical symbol system has the necessary and sufficient means for intelligent action. The chapter "Economic Reality" has also been revised to reflect a change in emphasis in Simon's thinking about the respective roles of organizations and markets in economic systems.
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
... The literature does not include any general discussion of the outstanding problems of this field. In this article, an attempt will be made to separate out, analyze, and find the relations between some of these problems. Analysis will be supported with enough examples from the literature to serve the introductory function of a review article, but there remains much relevant work not described here.Proc. Institute of Radio Engineers 49, p. 8-30
This article is concerned with the psychology of human thinking. It setsforth a theory to explain how some humans try to solve some simpleformal problems. The research from which the theory emerged is intimatelyrelated to the field of information processing and the construction of intelligentautomata, and the theory is expressed in the form of a computerprogram. The rapid technical advances in the art of programming digitalcomputers to do sophisticated tasks have made such a theory feasible.It is often argued that a careful line must be drawn between the attemptto accomplish with machines the same tasks that humans perform, andthe attempt to simulate the processes humans actually use to accomplishthese tasks. The program discussed in the report, GPS (General ProblemSolver), maximally confuses the two approachesâwith-mutual"!benefit. Lerende Automaten, Munich: Oldenberg KG