In Arthur C. Clarke's book "2001, A Space Oddessy" he predicts that world peace is achieved with the help of the phone company.
There is a subtle point made that international phone calls became flat rate or "free" (monthly fee, dial all you want) and that with people freely able to communicate, they do communicate; and with this people around the world understand each other better and as a result world peace breaks out around the world. World peace, thanks to free phone calls.
That hasn't happened yet. Yet.
However, with the internet we freely communicate with people around the world. Email with people around the world. Meet people in chat rooms from countries you've never heard of. Skype and IM without knowing a country-code or area code. With YouTube, we see each in real-life situations without the filter of how Hollywood, the film industry, or the government want us to see each other. With the power of wikis, blogs, and social networking sites people collaborate without borders or limits.
Imagine an entire generation growing up in such an environment. Kids are using wiki's to plan events and social networking sites to start movements. How many generations before people think of international borders as old fashioned and out-dated as rotary phones and carbon paper.
I'm starting to believe more and more that Clarke's vision of people inspired by communication is coming true.
In the late 1900s it was believed that no two capitalist countries that did trade ever went to war with each other. Trade is more valuable than war. Or as one PhD thesis put it, "Now two countries with a McDonalds have ever started a war with each other."
I think the power of free communication can achieve even more.
If you need more convincing, how could a generation that coordinates something like this ever want to go to war? How could you support a politician that wants to wage war with your friend that simultaneously danced "Thriller" with you on October 25th?
Yes, I said it. Thriller. Around the world.
(video by www.ThrillTheWorld.com)