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IBM Opens Rail Center in China

If you want to know where the future of an industry is heading, simply go where the new research is taking place.  Look in California and you find Silicon Valley, home of high tech research labs.  Look in New Jersey and you find the large drug companies research laboratories, along with these companies headquarters.  And now, when you look toward China you will find the future of rail travel.  The reason, simply, is that IBM opened their new Global Rail Innovation Center on Thursday in Beijing.  This new research and development center of the world's largest computer maker will bring together experts and specialists to build the latest innovations in rail technology.  So, even though we know that China will become the next home of rail research, we have to ask why?

IBM sees huge opportunities in China and the results are already becoming tangible.  Two months ago China's Guangzhou city inked a deal with IBM to provide the information technology for the city's rail system, set to drastically expand as part of China's stimulus spending.

This lucrative deal is based on a new kind of technology created by IBM, smarter railway system. This new system will use a network of sensors to feed data into management systems, such as IBM’s Maximo software, to react to information in real time saving millions in miscommunications and slow downs.  

Now, this is my only problem with this green breakthrough  I praise the IBM initiative for saving millions of tons of carbons wasted on inefficiencies within public transportation, but I worry about the civil liberties indications with the system.  It makes sense that the two main factors being monitored by the system will be weather and traffic.  Traffic at these rail stations will be people, so naturally people will be monitored with the latest technology.  This technology could easily be used to quiet dissent, monitor activists and generally invade the lives of Chinese citizens by their government.  And we all know about the Chinese government's record on privacy and computing. I really can see this technology as part of the arsenal to control people utilized by the communist regime.