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) …
John McCarthy's contributions to computer science and artificial intelligence are legendary. He invented Lisp, made substantial contributions to early work in timesharing and the theory of computation, and was one of the founders of artificial intelligence and knowledge representation. This article, written in honor of McCarthy's 80th birthday, presents a brief biography, an overview of the major themes of his research, and a discussion of several of his major papers.
Jim Kornell, Robert Park, Christopher Dungan, Joop Schopman, David Drager, Nils J. Nilsson, Marty Kalin, John Gavin, Bernard Meltzer, Robert Salmansohn, Keith McCammon, Loren Martindale Abstract Subjects include AI's impact on employment, the AAAI conference, a response to McCarthy's Presidential Message, AI going public, and computerless expert systems. Subjects include AI's impact on employment, the AAAI conference, a response to McCarthy's Presidential Message, AI going public, and computerless expert systems.
The Stanford Artificial Intelligence Project, later known as the Stanford AI Lab or SAIL, was created by Prof. John McCarthy shortly after his arrival at Stanford on 1962. As a faculty member in the Computer Science Division of the Mathematics Department, McCarthy began supervising research in artificial intelligence and timesharing systems with a few students. From this small start, McCarthy built a large and active research organization involving many other faculty and research projects as well as his own. Nevertheless, there are some important dimensions to the research that took place in the AI Lab that will try to put in historical context in this brief introduction.