I was wondering if there was ever any attempt to compile a comprehensive graph from these prerequisite relationships of human technology.
(More specifically, it would be a DAG, as the ''prerequisite of'' relation is directed, and we can't have cycles.)
I understand that this is a complicated issue even theoretically (primarily as these relationships are not static, they evolve over time), and is downright impossible to completely answer practically (as the number of nodes and edges, and the research to correctly identify them would be enormous, for minimal practical value), but hey, it is fun, and people have done a lot of things for fun with little practical purpose, so who knows...
What I have considered:
- Input-output analysis (in particular, input-output tables): these are widely available, but are at sector-level, not individual technology-level, and they also reveal nothing about the ''prerequisite of'' relationships.
- Material requirements planning: it is very close to what we need, but it is too microscopic, it is about components required for a product, not technologies required for a technology.
- Technology tree: this is close to what we need, but the concrete examples in games are widely stylized and simplified (show several order of magnitudes smaller number of technologies than in reality).