Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt has been on tour in England, meeting with politicians and journalists. On several occasions, he has been talking about the idea of a truth-telling machine.
He forecast that, within five years, "truth predictor" software would "hold politicians to account". Voters would be able to check the probability that apparently factual statements by politicians were actually correct, using programs that automatically compared claims with historic data, he said.
Politicians "don't in general understand the implications" of the Internet, Mr Schmidt argued.
The Financial Times story mentions a remark this summer by deputy prime minister John Prescott: "I think it's called the Internet or something -- blogs is it? -- I don't know, I've only just got used to letters."
Not that some U.S. politicians are any better informed...