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disruption entrepreneurship indicatorcapital oculus-rift Uncategorized Virtual Reality

The Empathy Machine


Virtual Reality has the power to place the viewer inside a moment or story. It may even trick your brain to believe it’s somewhere else.

I couldn’t agree more with Tim Knowles that “People need to spend more time in the physical real world and less in the virtual world.” With that mindset, my partners and I at IndicatorCapital encourage a healthy lifestyle. Thus, we offer five extra vacation days for the practice of sports, charity and other purposeful activities. You can learn more About Us Here.

Recently, I have decided to try and inspire others become more active through my publication Long Ride Vélo Club. As a cyclist, I spend several hours a week enjoying the outdoors — on average I cycle about 12hrs/week. The cycling culture breathes camaraderie, respect and humility.

Yet, I also pay the toll of working from a computer and staying up to date with social media. An average American spends about 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen. Spending too much time behind screens is a serious issue, but we cannot “put the genie back into the bottle”. Technology will continue to speed up and will become more relevant in our every-days.

There are high expectations that Virtual Reality will lead humanity to positive changes. Many segments are working on inspiring applications, such as medicine, psychology and social-inclusion. At first, Virtual Reality may sound isolating. However, there are many great initiatives working on the positive impact, such as VR for Good and Within. As I mentioned in my article, the movie Step to the Line by Ricardo Laganaro takes you inside a maximum security prison. The idea behind is to help the viewer empathize with an inmates’ life.

Shot entirely on location in California maximum-security prisons, “Step to the Line” provides a new perspective on prisoners, the correctional system, and even yourself. In this project, we see how release from incarceration can be just as jarring as intake, and how parallel lives diverge when someone serves time. Directed by Ricardo Laganaro, and produced by Oculus in association with Defy Ventures, “Step to The Line,” premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.

VR will not make us spend more time behind screens. Rather, it will cannibalize time from other screens. Furthermore, it all depends on how individuals and families deal with screens, an issue that has been around for long. Finally, for anyone trying to spend less time in front of a screen and become more productive, I have a book to recommend — Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

Technology leads to inevitable changes. Our role is to use technology to improve humankind.


Derek Bittar is the co-founder of IndicatorCapital, Kauffman Fellow and avid road cyclist. He often writes on Building Value Together to empower entrepreneurs in emerging ecosystems, he sometimes writes on Long Ride Vélo Club about his epic road cycling adventures.

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