[Book launch symposium] The role and impact of technologies on human activities

08 June 2022
  • Starts at: 17:00h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: Asser Institute
  • Organiser: Asser Institute & DILEMA Project
  •   Register

On Wednesday 8 June 2022, the Asser Institute and the DILEMA Project are hosting a book launch symposium, around the recently-published manuscript of Dr Sadjad Soltanzadeh, Problem-Solving Technologies: A User-Friendly Philosophy (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2022).

As technologies become ubiquitous in our everyday personal and social life, it is essential to understand the role and impact of technologies on human activities. Against the background of discussions on approaches to ethics and philosophy of technologies, the symposium will explore the complex interrelationships between technologies and humans, and invite us to re-examine our societal and governance structures.

The symposium will take place in-person at the Asser Institute in The Hague.


  • 16:45 - Arrival and registration
  • 17:00 - Opening remarks  - Dr Berenice Boutin, Senior Researcher in International Law, DILEMA Project Leader (Asser Institute)
  • 17:10 -  Panel Discussion
  • 18:00 - Concluding remarks by the author - Dr Sadjad Soltanzadeh, Postdoctoral Researcher in Ethics and Philosophy of Technology (Asser Institute)
  • 18:15 - Q&A
  • 18:30 - Reception

About the book

We categorise our reality into cars and bicycles, planets and dwarf planets, black and white chess squares, hospitals and military bases or citizens and non-citizens. Categorisations provide tools for us to make sense of our world and evaluate our decisions and actions. We do things with and to categorisations in a similar sense that we do things with and to technologies. But what makes a categorisation useful, and how can we construct useful categorisations?


Problem-Solving Technologies is a book about the identification and categorisation of our world, particularly technologies, at the level of personal experiences. At the level where we connect to objects and use them for varied purposes. The book accepts the fluid identity of objects to argue that we need to stop asking ‘what is this object?’ and expect to hear a universal truth about the object’s identity or the category to which it belongs. What we should hear is the dynamic identities that the object acquires by playing roles in, and impacting, different human activities. In this user-friendly philosophy, the study of objects and their categorisations needs to be accompanied by the study of activities in which they are used.

Order the book here or access it online on EBSCOhost.

About the author

undefinedSadjad Soltanzadeh is a researcher in ethics and philosophy of technology. Sadjad is working with the DILEMA project with the goal of understanding the legal, philosophical, and moral importance of human autonomy and human agency in the context of autonomous systems.

Sadjad has a multidisciplinary background and has experienced diverse workplace and academic environments in Iran, the Netherlands, and Australia. He has masters and Doctorate degrees in Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Technology. He is also a qualified and experienced mechanical engineer as well as a secondary school teacher.

Read his full biography here.

About the DILEMA project

The DILEMA project on Designing International Law and Ethics into Military Artificial Intelligence (2020–2024) explores interdisciplinary perspectives on military AI, with a focus on legal, ethical, and technical perspectives on safeguarding human agency over military AI. It analyses in particular subtle ways in which AI can affect or reduce human agency, and seeks to ensure compliance and accountability by design. It investigates why is it essential to safeguard human agency over certain functions and activities, where it is most critical to maintain the role of human agents, and how to technically ensure that military technologies are designed and deployed in line with ethical and legal frameworks.

For more information, see the project’s website.

About the research strand on disruptive technologies in peace and security

The research strand on ‘Regulation in the public interest: Disruptive technologies in peace and security’ conducts research on technologies that have disruptive implications for international security and international law, including military applications of artificial intelligence (AI), data-driven warfare, biochemical weapons, and conventional weapons or dual use technologies with a disruptive potential. Our research focuses, in particular, on the development of the international regulatory framework for the military and security applications of disruptive technologies. Two main lines of enquiry guide research within this strand. On the one hand, we question how legal norms and ethical values can shape technologies, and on the other hand we analyse how technologies challenge our legal norms and ethical values.