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) …
So instead of arranging themselves in a net shape, the flatworm's nervous system all revolved around a central highway of messenger nerves that would pass messages back and forth between the boss and everyone else: The flatworm's boss-highway system was the world's first central nervous system, and the boss in the flatworm's head was the world's first brain. As time passed and Earth's animals started inventing intricate new body systems, the bosses got busier. He turned each human's head into a little world of its own, making humans the first animal that could think complex thoughts, reason through decisions, and make long-term plans. Not only had he made the human head a wondrous internal ocean of complex thoughts, his latest breakthrough had found a way to translate those thoughts into a symbolic set of sounds and send them vibrating through the air into the heads of other humans, who could then decode the sounds and absorb the embedded idea into their own internal thought oceans.
However, the real risk posed by AI – at least in the near term – is much more insidious. The Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence, launched this week with 5.5m in funding from the Open Philanthropy Project, is lead by computer science professor and artificial intelligence pioneer Stuart Russell. "The potential benefits [of AI research] are huge, since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools AI may provide, but the eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable," the letter reads. Similarly, an artificially intelligent hedge fund designed to maximize the value of its portfolio could be incentivized to short consumer stocks, buy long on defence stocks and then start a war – as suggested by Elon Musk in Werner Herzog's latest documentary.
Tesla Motors is trying to see if it can make improvements in its Autopilot partial self-driving system, which may have been a factor in a recent fatal accident. He said "significant improvements" look possible that would be beamed to Tesla's electric cars wireless via over-the-air updates. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation. Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board sent its own team to look into the safety of the system.