Elon Musk taps iPhone hacker to fix Twitter search

Posted on December 05, 2022 by Peter McGuthrie

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been particularly focused on Twitter after his $44 billion purchase of the company. Musk has been cutting costs by reducing Twitter’s workforce, though he recently tapped some new talent to help fix a few key features on the social media platform.

Above: Twitter on a mobile phone. Photo: Joshua Hoehne / Unsplash

Hacker George Hotz has been temporarily hired by Musk to fix Twitter’s search function, as detailed in a report from Tech Crunch. The position is expected to last just 12 weeks, and the site’s search functionality is one of two goals Hotz has been tasked with during this period.

Hotz became known for early iPhone hacking and reverse engineering the PS3, both of which brought him into the public focus in the tech world. Since then, Hotz founded Comma.ai, which plans to develop a driver assistance system similar to Tesla’s Autopilot. The company came after an argument in which Hotz was apparently hired by Tesla to work on Autopilot, before Musk reportedly “kept changing the terms.”

At the time, Hotz claimed his technology could outperform Autopilot and he set out with Comma.ai to do just that. Currently, Comma.ai offers a $1,999 driver assistance system developer kit, which is compatible with over 200 vehicles. Interestingly, Hotz took a step away from Comma.ai just weeks before the announcement of plans to help out at Twitter, saying in a lengthy blog post that he was “taking some time away” from the company.

The deal was uniquely worked out between Hotz and Musk over Twitter, in which Hotz offered to do a 12-week internship for the cost of living in San Francisco.

In addition to fixing Twitter search, Hotz is up to the hefty secondary task of “trying to get rid of that nondismissable login pop up after you scroll a little bit.” Hotz later added in the thread that, even if he only got rid of the pop-up, he would “still consider [his] internship a win.”

Hotz also reached out to Tesla’s former AI Director Andrej Karpathy asking if he wanted to help with the Twitter search project, saying “there’s a lot of low hanging fruit…” In response, Karpathy noted that he uses “site: https://twitter.com/” on Google to search Twitter, adding that it “works quite well.”

The news comes amidst active recruiting at Twitter for both engineering and sales roles. It’s not entirely clear why long-time rivals Musk and Hotz are teaming up together now, but it’s possible it may lead to more than a 12-week internship — especially if he can fix Twitter search during that time after all.

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Source: Tech Crunch

Posted in Comma.ai, Elon Musk, George Hotz, Tesla, Twitter


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