Has a technological dependency graph been made?

post by Mati_Roy (MathieuRoy) · 2020-02-27T20:51:08.455Z · LW · GW · No comments

This is a question post.


    Evan Huus
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I would like to see a graph of technologies that were developed during humanity's history that shows which ones were (likely) necessary for the development of which other. It might provide useful insights.


answer by Douglas_Knight · 2020-02-28T16:05:53.215Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's a good idea, but a word of warning. History is based on such little data that it must be the product of circular reasoning. Most historical claims about what technologies existed are based on implicit beliefs about tech trees, while most beliefs about tech trees are based on explicit beliefs about what technologies existed. Yes, it is better to make the beliefs about tech trees explicit, although there is risk of ossifying these beliefs. Anyhow, I recommend that you widen your priors by reading Lucio Russo's book Forgotten Revolution about how much science and technology the ancient Greeks had.

answer by dumky · 2020-03-09T00:54:49.484Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

James Burke mentioned such a graph being worked on in a talk he gave in 2009. Not sure how it progressed. https://youtu.be/7G8YHWbi-9U

Note: if you’re interested in this topic, check out Burke’s book and TV show, Connections. It’s fascinating (a lot of clever repurposing and also happenstance).

comment by Mati_Roy (MathieuRoy) · 2020-03-09T23:25:09.564Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


this seems to be the project: https://k-web.org/ with this graph being the beta version: https://webbrain.com/brainpage/brain/C6015FA0-82BF-F1FA-9D05-0EA9FD7F845E#-2751

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