Dr. Lynne Parker is Associate Vice Chancellor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT), and Director of the AI Tennessee Initiative.


Lynne Parker, one of the leading experts on artificial intelligence in our state and nation, spoke in Oak Ridge on “AI Unveiled: Exploring Key Questions about our AI-Driven World.”  She delivered the second Dick Smyser Community Lecture (during 25th year of the series) sponsored by Friends of Oak Ridge National Laboratory at the Zach Wamp Auditorium at the Y-12 New Hope Center, 602 Scarboro Rd. Food was available before the lecture.

The talk was open to the public and was free. Dick Smyser was a long-time editor of The Oak Ridger and a FORNL member who helped launch the community lecture series. This was an in-person lecture only and the lecture was not videotaped for later viewing.  About 125 people attended.



This talk explored pivotal questions around AI and its impacts in our rapidly evolving world, such as: Will AI take my job? How can I prepare for the AI-driven workplace? What are the ethical implications of AI? How will AI be used to improve our lives? Will AI be used for malicious purposes? Will countries have AI armies in the future? How can we ensure that AI does not lead to a dystopian future? What does the future of AI look like? And what should we do about this here at home in Tennessee? In addressing these questions, she considered how AI is transforming the job market and implications for education and workforce development. She examined the role of AI in addressing pressing global challenges. She explored how to harness the full potential of AI while addressing concerns about privacy and discrimination. She discussed the challenges of making AI transparent and understandable, to help ensure trust and accountability. She considered geopolitical and ethical implications of AI-driven militaries. She speculated on the limits to what AI can achieve and the prospects that lie ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of AI technology. Finally, She considered steps we can take here in Tennessee to be ready for this new AI-driven world.

Biographical Sketch:

Dr. Lynne Parker

Parker is associate vice chancellor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and director of the AI Tennessee Initiative, which aims to position the university and state of Tennessee as a national and global leader in the data-intensive knowledge economy. Previously, she served as the founding director of the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Office in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and as deputy chief technology officer of the United States (from 2018-2022).

Parker is a graduate of Powell High School in Knox County and a former group leader at ORNL. She has degrees from Tennessee Tech University (B.S.), UT Knoxville (M.S.) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D. in computer science).  She joined the UT computer science faculty in 2002. She has held numerous other leadership positions, including at UT (interim dean of the Tickle College of Engineering), the National Science Foundation (division director for Information and Intelligent Systems), and ORNL, where she conducted research on intelligent multi-robot teams as a distinguished R&D staff member and group leader. 

In Washington, D.C., she said, “I led White House efforts in creating numerous landmark national AI policies bolstering research, governance, education and workforce training, international engagement and the federal use of AI.”

Parker is an expert on distributed and intelligent robot systems, human-robot interaction and AI. She is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. She is also a distinguished member of the Association for Computing Machinery.