Google CEO: Politicians Don't Get the Internet

By Steve Bryant  |  Posted 2006-10-03 Print this article Print

Google CEO Eric Schmidt told the UK's conservative party yesterday that politicians don't understand the importance of the Internet, or that Internet content can alter people's perceptions of their leaders.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Schmidt said his speech to the conservative party was part of a global attempt to educate the world's politicians.

"Many of the politicians don't actually understand the phenomenon of the internet very well. It's partly because of their age?...?often what they learn about the internet they learn from their staffs and their children," Mr Schmidt said.

The current "TV generation" of political leaders had learned to "switch on" and perform in front of the cameras and most were now aware of the internet's importance, he said. But he argued they had yet to grasp the technology's implications, not least in terms of the power it hands to voters, posing the question: "If television created this generation of politicians, what will the internet do to the next generation of politicians?"

"The internet has largely filled a role of funding for politicians?...?but it has not yet affected elections. It clearly will," he forecast.
Schmidt said that within five years, voters will be able to check the probability that a politician's statements are factually correct. "We [at Google] are not in charge of truth but we might be able to give a probability," he said.

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