Photo Illustration by Erin O’Flynn/The Daily Beast/Getty Images
No, you don’t need to drill a hole in your head and implant a microchip in order to lose weight. There are much safer ways of slimming down—including a new class of very promising drugs that make weight-control brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) seem downright perilous in comparison.
Conspiracy-peddling billionaire Elon Musk raised the prospect of computer-chip-aided weight-loss back in April, while discussing his Neuralink BCI in a TED interview. “I think you can solve a very wide range of brain injuries,” Musk said, “including severe depression, morbid obesity, sleep [disorders and] restoring memory in older people.”
It’s not an outlandish claim. Neuralink, like other experimental BCIs, rewires the nervous system. People suffering from paralysis have used the implants to regain partial control of their limbs. BCIs can even translate neural impulses—thoughts, basically—into radio signals and transmit them to drones, computers, or other devices.