Google CEO Eric Schmidt flew his Gulfstream jet into Britain on Tuesday and had a chilling message for politicians on the day that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was trying to shore up his credibility in Dublin following revelations that he accepted large gifts of money for his personal use while Minister for Finance.
Politicians have yet to wake up to the effect of the internet, which will soon expose them to online "truth" tests, the head of Google said.
Eric Schmidt, the group's chairman and chief executive, told the Financial Times that his speech to the Conservative party conference - and an earlier visit to Prime Minister Tony Blair - was part of a mission to educate political leaders. "Many of the politicians don't actually understand the phenomenon of the internet very well," Schmidt said.
The current "TV generation" of leaders was mostly aware of the web's importance, he said. However, he argued that they had yet to grasp the technology's implications, not least in terms of the power it handed to voters.
Schmidt forecast that, within five years, "truth predictor" software would allow voters to check the probability that apparently factual statements by politicians were correct, using software that compared claims with historical data, he said. "One of my messages to them is to think about having every one of your voters online all the time, inputting 'is this true or false?' "
Irish politicians of course are neither evaders or liars!!