After written language and money, software is only the third major soft technology to appear in human civilization.
What about numeracy, culture, art, religion? Just to name a few.
I would call spoken language a technology, in fact. As well as the ones you’ve listed. :)
I agree with you about numeracy. “Culture” and “art” include all technologies, so they aren’t good candidates for inclusion in a list of technologies. “Religion” isn’t a technology; it’s an aspect of human nature, like bipedal locomotion or binocular vision.
I am pleasantly surprised to learn that we have records of numeracy (in the form of tally sticks) extending back some thirty thousand years, much longer than written language. And maybe oral numeracy is older still.
What other things would you name?
The line between “hard” and “soft” technology, and between “soft technology” and “not a technology” both seem a bit nebulous. For example, are transportation networks a soft technology? Something like the Roman arch bridge seems like a hard technology, and the empire-wide trade network seems like a form of social organization rather than any kind of technology. But the road network seems like a soft technology.
I might also propose something like “administration” as a soft technology—encompassing things like management, bureaucracy, accounting, organization, etc. These are the technologies on which the modern state, corporation, and economy are built. Arguably money is a special case of this, a form of accounting.
The list was for “general purpose” soft technologies.
It’s one of those articles that seems plausible on some levels but which glibly uses a series of far too vaguely defined categories. What are other ways I could imagine slicing this stuff up?
Another way to look at this process is to see language, writing, printing, mass-media and the Internet as something like a single accelerating strand of communication methods rather than discreet technologies. Where money fits in here is a harder question to answer.