George Hotz’s : Journey from being the ‘first-ever’ iPhone hacker to developing self-driving cars

Report : In 2007, a seventeen-year-old George Hotz – going by the alias ‘geohot’ – took the internet by storm when he unveiled the first-ever carrier unlock for the iPhone, enabling iPhone users to use the device with carriers other than AT&T.
The hack made him an international celebrity overnight, appearing on several TV news programs. Hotz traded his second unlocked 8GB iPhone with Terry Daidone, founder of Certicell, for a Nissan 350Z and three 8GB iPhones.


His iOS hacking days did not end there, as George released blackra1n in 2009, a jailbreak tool for iOS 3. The tool used a USB exploit in the OS to execute unsigned code on the devices.

At 26, George Hotz is a man with more feathers under his hat than most would be skilled enough to accumulate throughout a lifetime. He has been pushing the boundaries of technology since his childhood. At the age of 14, he made it to the finals of Intel International Science & Engineering Fair for building a robot that could scan a room and figure out its dimensions.

George has several firsts too to his name. Here are some highlights of George Hotz’s journey from being a hacker to an entrepreneur.


George first expressed desire to breach security on Sony PlayStation 3 in December of 2009. He eventually succeeded at his mission, and released a public jailbreak for the gaming console, becoming the first person to do so.

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Sony, not pleased with the breach of their security framework on the console, sued Hotz publically releasing the jailbreak. George too went to the media against Sony, he even dissed the company in a rap song he released during that time.

In April 2011, the two parties settled the lawsuit out of court on the condition that George would not ever engage in any hacking attempts on Sony products in future.


After finishing college, George decided to do research in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, and soon felt it wasn’t hard to master. In 2015, a mutual friend introduced George to Elon Musk, founder of Tesla. Since George had already developed a deep understanding of AI technology, the two got to figuring out a deal where he would help Tesla develop its own self-driving technology.

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Musk offered George $12 million to work with Tesla, with further bonuses which would pay out once they managed to discontinue Mobileye, the technology Tesla currently uses for its self-driving cars.

George declined, replying to Musk’s email saying, “I appreciate the offer, but like I’ve said, I’m not looking for a job. I’ll ping you when I crush Mobileye.”

self driving car

In September, 2015, George started Comma.ai from his garage, a company that aims to bring self-driving kits to cars for a mere $1,000. Currently, Hotz has publicly demoed a self-driving Acura ILX that uses Comma.ai’s AI technology.

The company raised $3.1million in funding earlier this year, and currently plans on beating the Tesla Model S with its self-driving abilities. The purpose of this is not only that it proves the technology works, but also that it would help George win a bet with Tesla founder Elon Musk, who prides his company’s AI technology.

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