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BlackBerry director of security up for title of “Canada’s Smartest Person”

Canada's smartest person

Canada's smartest person An executive with Canadian device maker BlackBerry has a chance to take home the title of “Canada’s smartest person.”

Alex Manea, BlackBerry’s director of security, is one of seven people who will compete in the two-hour finale of the CBC Program Canada’s Smartest Person on Sunday.

Canada’s Smartest Person is a reality series that debuted in 2012 as a two-hour special and was subsequently turned into a regular series. Contestants are presented with intelligence challenges that are based on The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, a model first proposed by Howard Gardner in his 1983 book “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences”. The theory is divided into eight forms of intelligence; musical–rhythmic, visual–spatial, verbal–linguistic, logical–mathematical, bodily–kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.

Manea, 31, said the process of applying was akin to getting into Harvard, but probably harder.

“What’s neat about Canada’s Smartest Person is that it actually tests multiple intelligences,” he says. “So unlike a normal IQ test, which just focuses on math and puzzles, the show also examines things like public speaking, creative writing and musical talent. That makes it a lot tougher, since you have to be good at so many different things. But at the same time it’s also a lot more fun to watch and a lot more relevant to the modern world.”

Manea, who was born in Romania, fled with his family to Canada during the Romanian Revolution. In his everyday life at BlackBerry he is charged, among other things, with explaining how security on BlackBerry’s newly released Android device, the PRIV, is superior to its predecessors, as he did in this October post on the BlackBerry Blog.

The PRIV features a slide-out physical keyboard and a virtual keyboard with the company’s “flick-to-type” feature, a screen that is curved on both sides, the BlackBerry Hub and a battery the company describes as “colossal” and claims can handle 22.5 hours of “mixed use”. BlackBerry says the camera, which is made by Schneider-Kreuznach® is much better and also adds 4K video recording at 30 frames-per-second.

But the biggest difference between the PRIV and other BlackBerry devices, of course, is the operating system. This device runs on Android 5.1.1, which is also known as “Lollipop”. BlackBerry is hoping it can sell PRIV to Android users who are concerned with security, but in the past that tact has failed to lure consumers away from devices that are less concerned with privacy, such as the iPhone.

The PRIV, which was announce by CEO John Chen in September, was released earlier this month to mixed reviews.

Manea says he hopes for a better reception on Sunday.

“Going into the finale, I’ve got my work cut out for me yet again,” he continued. “This time, I’m up against six of the best and brightest competitors from across the country. No matter what happens, I’ll never forget this once-in-a-lifetime experience and all of the fantastic people involved with the show…I can tell you that whoever wins the finale will, without a shadow of a doubt, deserve to be called Canada’s Smartest Person.”

Below: CBC Canada’s Smartest Person – Physical Challenge – Sport Stacking

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.

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