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) …
Questions are asked and answered every day. Question answering (QA) technology aims to deliver the same facility online. It goes further than the more familiar search based on keywords (as in Google, Yahoo, and other search engines), in attempting to recognize what a question expresses and to respond with an actual answer. First, questions do not often translate into a simple list of keywords. For example, the question (1) Which countries did the pope visit in the 1960s?
A paradigm enabling heuristic problem solving programs to exploit an analogy between a current unsolved problem and a similar but previously solved problem to simplify it s search for a solution is outlined. It is developed in detail for a first-order resolution logic theorem prover. Descriptions of the paradigm, implemented LISP programs, and preliminary experimental results are presented. This is believed to be the firs t system that develops analogical information and exploits it so that a problem-solving program can speed its search.IJCAI-71, British Computer Society, London, 1971. Revised version in Artificial intelligence 2(2):147- 178, fall, 1971.