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
Davis, R., Buchanan, B. G.
"We define the concept of meta-level Knowledge, and illustrate it by briefly reviewing four examples that have been described in detail elsewhere. The examples include applications of the idea to tasks such as transfer of expertise from a domain expert to a program, and the maintenance and use of large Knowledge bases. We explore common themes that arise from these examples, and examine broader implications of the idea, in particular its impact on the design and construction of large programs."IJCAI 5, 920-927