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) …
R. H. Richens was born in Penge, near London, in 1919. He read natural sciences at Cambridge and is now Assistant Director of the Commonwealth Bureau of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cambridge. He has been a member of the Cambridge Language Research Group since its foundation. His principal research interests have been the taxonomy and history of the elm, the history of Soviet genetics, and machine translation. Everything symbolized by a set of symbols constitutes the domain of symbolization of the set.
Copyrightt 1979 William Kaufmann, Inc., all rights reserved. Reprinted by permission from The Handbook of Artificial Intelligence, Vol.I, No.4, Avron Barr & Edward A. Feigenbaum, Eds., 1979. The views and conclusions of this document should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either express or implied, of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Institutes of Health, or the United States Government. Copyright Notice: The material herein is copyright protected. Those of us Involved in the creation of the Handbook of Artificial Intelligence, both writers and editors, have attempted to make the concepts, methods, tools, and main results of artificial intelligence research accessible to a broad scientific and engineering audience.
The recent work of the Unit has been primarily concerned with the employment ofthesauri in machine translation. Limited success has been achieved, in punchedcardtests, in improving the idiomatic quality and so the intelligibility of an initiallyunsatisfactory translation, by word-for-word procedures, from Italian intoEnglish, by using a program which permitted selection of final equivalents from"heads" in Roget's Thesaurus, i.e. lists of synonyms, near-synonyms and associatedwords and phrases, instead of from previously determined lists of alternativetranslations.Mechanical Translation, vol.4, nos.1 and 2, November 1957; pp. 35-43]