Who is buying farmland near Travis Air Force Base in rural California? Who rigged the Super Bowl so the Kansas City Chiefs would win, and Taylor Swift’s fairytale story could unfold? Who stole the US election from Trump? 

Russia? The deep state? Rogue nations?  

None of the above.  

These disparate events have become part of a linked conspiratorial narrative. As a 2024 Monmouth University poll demonstrated, 18% of Americans believe Taylor Swift is part of a conspiracy theory to reelect Biden and 46% have heard of this theory. 73% of that 18% think the 2020 US presidential election was fraudulent. 

With humans, a lack of information can often lead to prejudice and fantastical presumptions, or in this case, a lack of thrilling information contributes to fantasy.  

In an environment in which inducing a dopamine rush has become currency, why would it surprise us that everyday answers to complex questions, would be rarely accepted?

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Why accept that the Kansas City Chiefs were simply the better team, led by a better quarterback and coach tandem, that Biden really did win the election, or that large swathes of Californian subprime farmland were not bought by malicious actors? 

Tinfoil hats and tech bros   

This takes us to California Forever, a project backed by high-profile investors, including Laurene Powell Jobs – Steve Jobs’ widow; Reid Hoffman – a founder of LinkedIn; and Marc Andreessen – a prominent venture capitalist.

It aims to provide affordable, sustainable, and accessible housing to 400,000 new residents in Solano County, California, US.

It is a project that could help alleviate well-documented housing concerns in San Francisco, as well as provide an alternative higher standard of living.  

This $800m example of classic ‘technosolutionism’ – the idea that technology is the best way to solve a problem – is just 60 miles north of San Francisco.

The hefty investment has seen California Forever become Solano County’s largest landowner with 55,000 acres, a plot it paid several times more than market value for in some cases. 

Whether this city ever comes to fruition will be determined by Solana residents, with several potential pain points to consider.

Notably, those raised by Fairfield mayor Catherine Moy, who suggests these plans are unrealistic, considering the area is “known for its drought conditions”, has “no mass transit” options, “dangerous” roads, and “does not have fresh water.” 

The deep state and you 

But how does this relate to the deep state and its interest in controlling us? And other associated conspiratorial ideas?  

As the news of the acquisition of thousands of acres filtered out, so did the first whisperings that these purchases might be the actions of the Chinese Communist Party, which has apparently already begun to take unprecedented and serious interest and stock of American farmland.

Spoiler, it hasn’t, but algorithmically curated content would disagree.

This highlights an important issue, AI tools struggle with misinformation moderation, as they cannot interpret context and nuance in the way humans can, yet.  

According to the Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2023, 64% of users worldwide who mainly use social media for news are concerned about misinformation.

If only they knew when they were being misinformed. 

Misinformation is forever. But, based on the last TikTok and tweet I saw, our sanity might not be…