This week in ideas: Fighting addiction with implants, using VR to educate, Amazon Prime gets primer

Welcome to This Week in Ideas, where we share the best stories we’ve been discussing amongst ourselves. We hope these stories nourish your curiosity.

Can we treat opioid addiction with implants? There’s no silver bullet for America’s opioid abuse problem, but a new clinical trial suggests some simple, novel solutions are on the way: “In a 15-minute in-office visit, a doctor will insert four white, tube-like flexible implants into a patient’s upper arm. Those implants are each the size of a matchstick and will drip-feed Buprenorphine directly into the bloodstream and up to the brain. The drug will then fasten onto the same neural receptors triggered by heroin or prescription narcotic painkiller use, effectively curbing one’s desire to get high.”

Better haircuts thanks to virtual reality: Virtual reality startup 8i (which you can learn about in a forthcoming Freethink episode!) is about to change how hair stylists learn their craft: “The VR experience features two photo-realistic humans—a stylist and a client—in a 360-degree environment. Students can step into the hairdressers’ shoes, and shift position in the virtual salon to watch from any angle.”

Google’s AI wants you to respect its privacy: “Googlers Martín Abadi and David G. Andersen have willingly allowed three test subjects — neural networks named Alice, Bob and Eve — to pass each other notes using an encryption method they created themselves.” Good thing Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil.”

Live sports through Amazon Prime are on the way: The company is “in talks” with the NBA, the MLB, the NFL, and others about the possibility of a streaming service for Prime members.

Weight-loss drug reduces cravings for opioids in small study
A first-of-its-kind trial found that GLP-1 agonists, a popular kind of weight-loss drug, could help people overcome their opioid cravings.
Popular weight-loss drugs show promise as addiction treatments
New trials will test the ability of GLP-1 agonists, a popular class of weight-loss drugs, to help people beat addictions to drugs and alcohol.
Extreme treatment for alcoholism slashes drinking by 90% in monkeys
An in-development treatment for alcoholism dramatically reduced consumption in monkeys that previously drank heavily.
“Digital detoxes” don’t work. Try these 4 skills instead
Digital distractions have become a ubiquitous part of work and life. But these distractions begin with emotional discomfort.
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