A famous Doonsbury cartoon has a college professor lecturing his dis-interested students. Frustrated, he begins to spout nonsense, among them "White is black." Or maybe the cartoon was warning about the currently-fashionable relativism movement -- where there is no such thing as absolute truth. (Is that absolutely true?)
In recent weeks, Google's marketing department has been parading its CEO in front of the media. You've probably seen the front covers of Time and Fortune, read about the speeches by Eric Schmidt.
(Side note: Notice that the business-suited Schmidt is being placed in the foreground, with attention over Google's two lab-coated founders being toned-down. Also note: Google's let's-see-what-sticks and forever-in-beta development method is now being touted both as chaotic and positive.)
Reuters reports on Mr Schmidt claiming that Google will provide Truth Predictor software for voters to "check seemingly factual statements against historical data to see to see if [politicians] were correct."
I could see this being helpful for fence-sitters who are not sure which way to vote. The system would not help my mother-in-law, who votes the opposite to her husband. But it would appear Mr Schmidt has not learned the lessons of Wikipedia: beliefs are stronger than facts.
He says, "Many of the politicians don't actually understand the phenomenon of the Internet very well." While true, political operatives do understand Web sites, Weblogs, mass emailings, and other Internet-enabled campaign tools.
But don't limit the list of Internet-unawarees to politicians. There will be more information for voters, but more information also means more chaotic information, and it won't have to come from a Google beta.