“Artificial intelligence” (AI) refers to the capability of machines to perform intellectual tasks, such as recognizing objects, forming plans to achieve goals and making predictions.
Today, AI systems are better than even the smartest people at some intellectual tasks, such as chess, but much worse at others, such as writing academic papers. If AI systems eventually become as good or better than humans at many of these remaining tasks, then their impact will likely be transformative. Furthermore, in the extreme case that AI systems eventually become more capable than humans at all intellectual tasks, this would arguably be the most significant development in human history.
Possible impacts of progress in AI include accelerated scientific progress, large-scale unemployment, novel forms of warfare, and risks from unintended behavior in AI systems.
Christiano, Paul. 2014. Three impacts of machine intelligence.