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) …
A piece-of-advice suggests what goal should be achievednext while preserving some other condition. If this goal can be achieved in agiven problem-situation (e.g. a given chess position) then we say that the piece-ofadviceis 'satisfiable' in that position. In this way ALI makes it possible to breakthe whole problem of achieving an ultimate goal into a sequence of subproblems,each of them consisting of achievement of a subgoal prescribed by some pieceof-advice. The control structure which chooses what piece-of-advice to applynext consists of a set of 'advice-tables', each of them being specialized in acertain problem-subdomain.In Hayes, J. E., Michie, D., and Pao, Y.-H. (Eds.), Machine Intelligence 10. Ellis Horwood.
A fascinating "must-read" that traces the quest for artificial intelligence back to ancient times, and then proceeds though various current topics with readable explanations and lively interview excerpts. Updated in 2004.] '"This twenty-fifth anniversary edition [of 2004] will contain a lengthy afterword.... It will also have two time lines, one where the history of AI is narrowly construed, and another where AI is cast into a far larger context of human endeavor...."See her AI FAQ Collection. Questions include:How long has the human race dreamed about thinking machines?What does it mean that a machine beat Garry Kasparov, the world's chess champion?Artificial intelligence - is it real?What so-called smart computers do -- is that really thinking?But doesn't that mean our own machines will replace us?Shouldn't we just say no to intelligent machines? Aren't the risks too scary?What's ahead as AI succeeds even more?Original: W. H. Freeman and Co., San Francisco; 25th Anniversary Edition: Natick, MA: A K Peters, Ltd., 2004