Who is George Hotz, Musk's new 'intern' fixing Twitter search?
George Hotz once famously turned down an offer to work at Tesla. He later founded Comma.ai to bring Tesla-like autopilot functionality to other cars. So far, he sounds like someone who wouldn't be a part of Elon Musk's Twitter 2.0. Well, be prepared to be surprised because Hotz has begun a 12-week "internship" at Twitter to improve the platform. But who is he?
Hotz was the first to hack an iPhone
Hotz made a name for himself in hacker circles after becoming the first person to hack an iPhone. He was 17 at the time. In 2007, Hotz wanted an iPhone but he also wanted to make phone calls using his existing carrier. However, the first iPhone was launched in exclusive partnership with AT&T. This is what prompted Hotz to hack the iPhone.
He published PS3 jailbreak information online
Hotz announced his retirement from iPhone jailbreaking in 2010. However, his exploits didn't end there. His next target was PlayStation 3. In 2009, he announced his intention to breach PS3. A month later, he bent the unbreakable machine to his will and even published the PS3 master key online. He later said that he was high when he published that.
Sony filed a lawsuit against Hotz
Hotz's exploits weren't taken lightly by Sony. The electronics giant filed a lawsuit against him. Later it was settled on the assurance that he would never hack any Sony product. He was even invited to Sony's office to replicate his findings on PS3. Hotz has also worked for tech giants such as Facebook and Google.
Musk reportedly offered Hotz a job at Tesla
In 2015, Hotz formed Comma.ai, an AI start-up to build vehicular automation technology based on machine learning. He later told Bloomberg that Musk tried to hire him at Tesla. The two reportedly had talks and Musk was ready to offer him a lucrative contract if Hotz could develop a better self-driving technology than Mobileye, the Israeli company that provided Tesla with technology then.
Hotz decided to take a break from Comma.ai
Hotz did not accept Musk's job offer because he felt that the billionaire kept changing the terms. Tesla later rebuked his claims about his ability to build driver assistance technology. Comma.ai now sells a $1,999 driver assistance developer kit that is compatible with over 200 cars. Last month, Hotz announced that he is taking a break from Comma.ai.
Hotz supported Musk's ultimatum to Twitter employees
The Hotz-Musk saga has come full circle now. Last week, Hotz tweeted in support of the email Musk sent to Twitter employees asking them to be "hardcore" or leave. He wrote, "This is the attitude that builds incredible things." He later tweeted that he is ready for a 12-week "internship" at Twitter. To this, Musk replied, "sure, let's talk."
All he asked for was the 'cost of living'
I’ll put my money where my mouth is. I’m down for a 12 week internship at Twitter for cost of living in SF.— George Hotz 🐀 (@realGeorgeHotz) November 16, 2022
It’s not about accumulating capital in a dead world, it’s about making the world alive.
It didn't take long for him to become a Tweep
One month ago I made my first tweet.— George Hotz 🐀 (@realGeorgeHotz) November 19, 2022
Today, I’m a Tweep!
The Internet feels full of possibility again.
He wants to get rid of the login pop-up
Hotz is tasked with fixing Twitter's search feature. He said even if he doesn't accomplish that but manages to get rid of the "non-dismissable login pop-up," he would consider his internship a victory. He later summarized what he plans to do with Twitter search. This includes removing the dependency on the exact text and improving advanced search, among others.
Hotz plans to make some sweeping changes to Twitter search
Okay, summarizing:— George Hotz 🐀 (@realGeorgeHotz) November 22, 2022
‣ Searching within "liked" and "seen" tweets with a modifier should be table stakes.
‣ The modifiers and advanced search should be surfaced a lot better. Discord does this well.
‣ Move away from exact text search and toward embeddings.