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October 4, 2006
Are These The People To Trust With Truth?

Google has made itself into the essential tool for Internet research, a success that all free-market fans applaud. Now one of its executives wants to expand its use into "truth predictor" functions that would assess the honesty of politicians:

Imagine being able to check instantly whether or not statements made by politicians were correct. That is the sort of service Google Inc. boss Eric Schmidt believes the Internet will offer within five years.

Politicians have yet to appreciate the impact of the online world, which will also affect the outcome of elections, Schmidt said in an interview with the Financial Times published on Wednesday.

He predicted that "truth predictor" software would, within five years, "hold politicians to account." People would be able to use programs to check seemingly factual statements against historical data to see to see if they were correct.

"One of my messages to them (politicians) is to think about having every one of your voters online all the time, then inputting 'is this true or false.' We (at Google) are not in charge of truth but we might be able to give a probability," he told the newspaper.

Truth in political statements? That should set records for smallest hit lists on Google searches.

Schmidt's new effort will likely find many fans, especially in the blogosphere. However, as Daniel Freedman notes at the New York Sun's It Shines For All blog, Google seems a poor choice for a partner in the search for political truth. This is the same company that cooperates with China's government in suppressing political truth in exchange for access to China's burgeoning Internet business. Google gave the Chinese information that allowed them to track down dissidents who posted criticisms of Beijing on line.

Is that the company we want in charge of Internet "truth"? I know I won't trust them with a search for truth prediction until they stop collaborating with tyrants.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 4, 2006 6:45 AM

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