Erlang is a programming language with higher level constructions such as process,scheduling or memory management built into the language itself. These constructions are typically associated with operating systems. By construction, Erlang is run in a virtual machine like environment (supposedly it runs just as fast as as unoptimized C code but this is not an appropriate performance metric).
While I was convinced by the usefulness of having such high level operations in the language constructions, I was not fully convinced by the language itself, which at a first glance does not look very appealing. I would argue (possibly wrongly :) ) that a language with this constructions but closer in syntax to an existing programming language would be much easily adopted.