Ambient Occlusion is a relatively new algorithm proposed in recent years. This algorithm can improve the reality of the scenes quite a lot. It considers the occlusion among objects. You can treat it as ambient shadows.
Let me post my demo images here:
No Ambient Occlusion, 3x Anti-Aliasing – 5.02 s:
Ambient Occlusion, 3x Anti-Aliasing – 88.97 s:
As shown, Ambient-Occlusion makes the objects more realistic. However, since it adds more computation on each pixel, it slows down the performance quite a lot.