Elon Musk Hires PlayStation 3 Jailbreak Hacker to Fix Twitter
George Hotz is best known for jailbreaking iPhone carrier lock and hacking Playstation 3. Now Elon Musk has set him on his most significant technical challenge: Fixing Twitter in three months. Okay, not everything. He was hired to fix Twitter’s currently broken search function.
Musk previously tried to hire the hacker for Tesla, but they had one falling out over the terms of employment. Hotz later founded Comma AI, a company that developed a competing software against Tesla’s autopilot AI. Musk then beefed with him in 2015 whether a single person or small company (like Comma AI) “lacking extensive engineering validation capability” would be able to create autonomous driving software that could be used in real cars. At the time, he clearly didn’t think an upstart like Hotz could unseat a major industrial giant like Tesla, but it seems Musk has undergone a significant change of heart since then. He’s now hired Hotz to fix something that should probably take an entire engineering team. Character Growth: We love to see it.
It all started when Hotz praised Musk to let go of anyone who didn’t want to work on a “hardcore” Twitter. A Twitter user pointed out that he advocated contractual obligations, and Hotz responded offers itself for nothing but cost of living in San Francisco. Musk expressed interest in what is probably the cheapest engineering help he could ever get, and the rest is history. Kotaku contacted Hotz to ask why he did not apply for a full-time position, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
Hotz has big plans for his 12 weeks on Twitter. He wants to get rid of it login popup which shows if you have scrolled too long. He wants to improve relevance of search results. Whether he succeeds or not, Hotz has already proven one thing for sure: He’s the biggest sucker in the tech world.
There are already signs that Hotz may not be able to replace an entire team after all. Hotz is currently a major figure on tech Twitter for trying it out ask engineers for free help. As some have pointed out, asking for volunteer labor is not a good thing for one of the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley, especially after Musk fired several full-time engineers who might be able to help him with this project. Kotaku reached out to Twitter to ask whether or not Hotz was replacing recently laid-off engineers, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
At least Hotz follows in the Silicon Valley tradition of trying to fix things that the average user doesn’t care about. “If I just get rid of the pop-up, I still consider my practice a win,” Hotz tweeted. “I have a Chrome extension on my laptop to block it.”