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) …
Reprinted from the Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Tokyo, Japan, 1979. Used by permission of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Inc.; copies of the Proceedings are available from Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc., 95 First Street, Los Altos, CA 94022, USA. AN EXAMINATION OF A FRAME-STRUCTURED REPRESENTATION SYSTEM Mark Stefik Computer Science Department Stanford University Stanford, California 94305 (This per has been accepted for the Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence to be held in Tokyo in August 1979. It is an updated version of the Heuristic Programming Project Working Paper HPP-78-13). Abstract: The Unit Package is an interactive knowledge representation system with representations for individuals, classes, indefinite individuals, and abstractions.
This material is reproduced with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc." The dominant paradigm for building intelligent systems since the early 1970s has been based on the premise that intelligence presupposes knowledge. Thus to build a program that performs, say, diagnosis for an infectious disease, it is necessary to identify the units of knowledge used by human experts as they perform the diagnostic task and to make them available to the system under development. Moreover, it is necessary to characterize the patterns of reasoning used by the human expert (deductive, hypothetical, or heuristic) and endow the intelligent system with analogous reasoning capabilities. This methodology is applicable for systems intended to perform any task requiring intelligence, be it diagnosis, planning, design or interpretation.