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If in some way, the Eyes of our ancestors from the early stone age had developed some special characteristic, which improvement will be most effective for technological development?

Note that this improvement is not limited for the sense of sight, but to any possible usage for our eye, i.e, hardening of the eyeball.

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  • $\begingroup$ It looks more like an idea generation question. Try rewording to see if you can get what you want in the context of world building. $\endgroup$ – Jim2B Jun 19 '15 at 12:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Jim2B I guess the parameter of "which will be most effective" requires considering a broad range or answers (idea generation) rather than simply "how would a different eye alter human technological development?" $\endgroup$ – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 19 '15 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I'm think we might be able to vote to reopen if this was narrowed a bit. Consider asking something like "what sort of [genetic | cybernetic] enhancements might make the human eye better for [combat | becoming part if the singularity | downloading vast quantities of data | HUD displays | to generally improve humans]?" If there are several related topics, you might need to ask a couple of different questions, but that's OK - it's why we're here :D $\endgroup$ – Jim2B Jun 19 '15 at 16:08
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Well, the ability for us to see infra-red (direct visual perception of heat) would enable quite a few things:

  1. We'd probably figure out fire faster if we could visualize it better and optimize the process of creating and maintaining a fire. The decay process releases heat, and this (coupled with our ability to tell if the wood is moist) would enable us to choose the best wood for starting a fire.
  2. Forging/smelting would be easier too if we didn't need to wait until the metal glows in the visual EM range. Earlier smelting = earlier refined tools = earlier progress of technology.
  3. Better/clearer perception of predators and prey = easier to hunt and evade = more food = more prosperous cultural groups.
  4. The ability for others to directly visually perceive (as opposed to inferring through behavior and environment) when someone is about to go into hypothermia or heat stroke would help save lives. The "obviousness" of this knowledge means that they would quickly learn the importance of environmental factors on survival and would more quickly innovate on tech for shelter.

This is just a couple of examples of how an expanded visual range into the infra-red could effect the progress of technology. Over a broader span of time, UV perception would be similarly useful - earlier nuclear tech? faster discovery of radiation? etc.

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  • $\begingroup$ Interestingly this would give rise to more cold blooded creatures. If other things can see in infrared then there is a major evolutionary advantage to being cold. $\endgroup$ – Wil Selwood Jun 19 '15 at 11:01
  • $\begingroup$ @WilSelwood there already is. Many animals do not thermoregulate, and many others can see into the infra-red and UV wavelengths. Generally, the evolutionary pressures of a single species already known for it's hunting prowess (see: early humans) and shaped by the pursuit of food (see: early human migratory patterns) wouldn't be significantly changed - it would just happen earlier from a historical standpoint. $\endgroup$ – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 19 '15 at 11:10
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The ability to flip down an eyelid with an extra lens. This would give the eye the ability to focus and magnify small objects. Not sure the exact shape this would need to take.

This would give people the ability to focus on very small things, like using a microscope.

This would have given us a very early understanding of bacteria which would have improved medicine hugely. It would mean every process or experiment that requires a microscope would be functionally free.

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  • $\begingroup$ Cute, but it's highly doubtful that any biologically possible structure would enable us to resolve microscopic objects. $\endgroup$ – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 19 '15 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ Sure it's plausible. The normal Nictitating membrane, which humans have lost, is transparent. A simple bleb on it would serve as a magnifier. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jun 19 '15 at 10:37
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    $\begingroup$ @JDługosz I'm not debating plausability, I'm debating whether it would be USEFUL, as the magnification provided would only be slightly better than normal sight. The physics of compound lenses requires multiple stages to reach useful magnification. $\endgroup$ – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 19 '15 at 11:07
  • $\begingroup$ This ability potentially allows clear sight under water. $\endgroup$ – Bookeater Jun 19 '15 at 16:21
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Augmented reality implants.

Better perception the real world is nice, but it won't significantly help technological progress. Better communication, and better visualisation of data will.

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    $\begingroup$ That's not what was asked. What change to the eyes in stone age humans would be interesting? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jun 19 '15 at 10:34

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