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) …
Sloane, Stephen B.
This article analyzes an attempt to use computing technology, including AI, to improve the combat readiness of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. The method of introducing new technology, as well as the reaction of the organization to the use of the technology, is examined to discern the reasons for the rejection by the carrier's personnel of a technically sophisticated attempt to increase mission capability. This effort to make advanced computing technology, such as expert systems, an integral part of the organizational environment and, thereby, to significantly alter traditional decision-making methods failed for two reasons: (1) the innovation of having users, as opposed to the navy research and development bureaucracy, perform the development function was in conflict with navy operational requirements and routines and (2) the technology itself was either inappropriate or perceived by operational experts to be inappropriate for the tasks of the organization. Finally, this article suggests those obstacles that must be overcome to successfully introduce state-of-the-art computing technology into any organization.