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) …
Summary of Ph.D. dissertation, Computer Science Dept., Stanford University (1979)."TEIRESIAS is a program designed to provide assistance on the task of building knowledge-based systems. It facilitates the interactive transfer of knowledge from a human expert to the system, in a high level dialog conducted in a restricted subset of natural language. This paper explores an example of TEIRESIAS in operation and demonstrates how it guides the acquisition of new inference rules. The concept of meta-level knowledge is described and illustrations given of its utility in knowledge acquisition and its contribution to the more general issues of creating an intelligent program."Also in:Readings in Artificial Intelligence, ed. Webber, Bonnie Lynn and Nils J. Nilsson, Palo Alto, CA: Tioga Publishing Co., 1981.Orig. in IJCAI-77, vol.1, pp. 321 ff. Preprint in Stanford HPP Report #HPP-77-9.See also: Artificial Intelligence, 12[#2]:409-427. Readings in Artificial Intelligence, ed. Webber, Bonnie Lynn and Nils J. Nilsson, Palo Alto, CA: Tioga Publishing Co., 1981