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) …
This paper presents a functional overview of the features and capabilities of QLISP, one of the newest of the current generation of very high level languages developed for use in Artificial Intelligence (AI) research.QLISP is both a programming language and an interactive programming environment. It embeds an extended version of QA4, an earlier AI language, in INTERLISP, a widely available version of LISP with a variety of sophisticated programming aids.The language features provided by QLISP include a variety of useful data types, an associative data base for the storage and retrieval of expressions, the ability to associate property lists with arbitrary expressions, a powerful pattern matcher based on a unification algorithm, pattern-directed function invocation, "teams" of pattern invoked functions, a sophisticated mechanism for breaking a data base into contexts, generators for associative data retrieval, and easy extensibility.System features available in QLISP include a very smooth interaction with the underlying INTERLISP language, a facility for aggregating multiple pattern matches, and features for interactive control of programs.A number of applications to which QLISP has been put are briefly discussed, and some directions for future development are presented.SRI Tech.Note 120, AI Center, SRI International, Inc., Menlo Park, Calif.
Abstract: A data base system that supports natural language queries is not really natural if it requires the user to know how the data are represented. This paper defines a formalism, called conceptual graphs, that can describe data according to the user’s view and access data according to the system’s view. In addition, the graphs can represent functional dependencies in the data base and support inferences and computations that are not explicit in the initial query.IBM Journal of Research and Development 20:4, pp. 336-357.
As a field, artificial intelligence has always been on the border of respectability, and therefore on the border of crackpottery. Many critics (Dreyfus, 1972), (Lighthill, 1973) have urged that we are over the border. We have been very defensive toward this charge, drawing ourselves up with dignity when it is made and folding the cloak of Science about us. On the other hand, in private, we have been justifiably proud of our willingness to explore weird ideas, because pursuing them is the only way to make progress.