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) …
The other night I attended a dinner with a dozen CEOs of AI startups. Once again, I heard a near universal discomfort with the term "artificial intelligence" as they sipped Pinot Noir and fumbled to describe what they do. "We're not really trying to create intelligence that's artificial," said the CEO of a product strategy company. Another, who has built AI-based payment technologies, found the term dystopic. "Too many people think AI means the Terminator," he said.
Nine years ago, renowned futurist and Google Chief Engineer, Ray Kurzweil, and X-Prize Foundation Chair, Peter Diamandis, founded Singularity University in order to explore and explain the potential of exponential technologies to address our great global challenges. Last week I had the privilege to attend their Executive Programme. During our week long bootcamp, we were exposed to future technological trends in robotics, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, digital manufacturing, digital medicine and space exploration, to name but a few. Underpinning spectacular advances across all of these areas is the explosion of computational power, as predicted by Moore's Law. For example, genomes that initially cost $3bn to sequence now cost $1,000 and are on their way to cost $0.01.