Helen Zille Elon Musk Microchips brain

Photo: Flickr / WEF

Helen Zille denies working with Elon Musk ‘to put microchips in our brains’

*Sigh*… It’s sad we have to address this, but here we are. Helen Zille is not secretly putting microchips in anyone’s brain, and Elon Musk isn’t helping.

Helen Zille Elon Musk Microchips brain

Photo: Flickr / WEF

Oh, man. We know conspiracy theories range from the sublime to the ridiculous, but we’re going to have to find another category for this one. Former DA leader Helen Zille has revealed that she’s been the subject of a series of bizarre claims – that allege she has been teaming up with Pretoria-born billionaire Elon Musk to plant microchips in people’s brains.

No, Helen Zille isn’t putting microchips in your brain

It’s, quite obviously, a false claim. It couldn’t be any dafter if it tried. But according to Helen Zille, this conspiracy is no longer a laughing matter, after she received several ‘intrusive calls’ about these rumours. The firebrand politician has strenuously denied the theory, branding the whole incident as ‘sad and weird’:

“The saddest, weirdest thing is happening and I am not quite sure how to deal with it… There is a young man somewhere out there who is genuinely convinced I have implanted a microchip in his brain. He has built up quite a significant social media following of people who believe this is true.”

“I have already received four calls [on Monday morning], from people asking me why I implanted a microchip in his brain, and what I intend to do about it. I explain that I did not implant a microchip in anyone’s brain, that I do not recall ever having met the person in question. The callers then insist it is my responsibility to help him get the microchip out of his brain.”

The problem with conspiracy theories is that they often borrow an element of truth, before running off on a tangent of lies. It’s correct that Elon Musk is looking to build ‘Neuralink’ technology – described as a ‘Fitbit for the brain’ – to push the boundaries of information-sharing between humans and machines.

However, this will all be done with voluntary candidates, and it has absolutely zero links to the current COVID-19 crisis. As for Helen Zille getting involved? It’s nonsense, and the situation is in danger of getting out of hand.

“They claim he has an X-ray showing that there is a micro-chip there, and somehow believe that I, working with Elon Musk, put it there. The callers, who sound genuinely concerned, believe that I ‘as the leader of Cape Town’ (as one of them said) have a duty to help get the micro-chip out of the young man’s brain or face arrest.”

Helen Zille seeks medical help for conspiracy accuser

Conspiracies thrive off sub-accusations, within the original theory, to keep them going. This big game of ‘Chinese Whispers’ has also dragged Cyril Ramaphosa into the mire, and Zille is fearful of just how quickly fake news can spread online:

“One caller said there were other people involved in planting the microchip in his brain, including the President. It is quite extraordinary how much traction this has received on social media. If I knew who the young person was, I would refer him for medical help. This is one of the by-products of the internet. Conspiracies and delusions flourish.”