The video above is more than a good song. It says a lot about the times we live in.
First, it's a collaboration among musicians in Africa, Europe, America and Asia who did not meet to record. They are singing the song of a Jamaican.
Many of these people come from poor backgrounds, yet they are able to use the same basic technology to make their contributions. See the headphones? Tracks are layered on tracks. The music is built using the Internet, the files passed around, additions made much as you would build a software program.
Which is the point. This collaboration was possible because people were using compatible technologies, because they had free interconnection, and because they shared a universal vocabulary.
In this case music. Other universal languages include mathematics, where equations look the same to a Chinese scholar or a Russian, and Java, which (like any computer language) uses the same structure whether you're Indian or Peruvian.
There are universal ideals in this song. Its selection is important, because it represents a desire for consensus. The governments in many of these places are autocratic, unpopular, or a direct threat to the people, yet this shared idealism persists. It is able to gain expression because of this medium you're using, and because of shared tools and technologies that are universal.
This kind of collaboration would not have been possible in Marley's time. Electronic instruments were too bulky. Collaboration then had to come in a shared room, and there are many examples of it from the 1970s. But it was narrow collaboration, accomplished through enormous effort, requiring an extreme level of coordination.
No more. Now, no matter what your instrument, or your language, you can share in the creation of something new because you are connected via a global network.
This should give you enormous hope. This is the answer to the seemingly insurmountable problems of our time. Not just these technologies, but this process, that lets us get together and feel all right.
The key is this medium is good for more than songs. It's good for software, it's good for politics, it's good for collaborating on development, on questions of war, on scientific research, on sociological research, and because it drives us toward the hope of peace.
Now, sing along...