AI is a way to extend human intelligence. A range of methods can be used to imbue things with smartness, thereby enabling them operate more independently, and react to unfamiliar situations. This typically relies on “training” the AI systems with relevant data or experiences, and by having human experts translate their expertise into algorithms that a machine can use.
At the same time, current AI systems are not conscious or anywhere near as intelligent as a cat, or in some ways, even a bee. AI systems have very narrow capabilities, and can’t extend their ability from one domain to another. They don’t have what’s called “Artificial General Intelligence” and probably won’t for many decades.
Examples of AI applications include autonomous cars, systems that can match an image of a face with a person’s name, recommend movies based on what you’ve watched, translating language, and transferring the style of a painter (e.g. van Gogh) to any image.