Researcher Patrick Keilty to give talk on the impact of design and information systems in the pornography industry 

Troy, NY — Online pornography is a $97 billion industry with more than 100 million people around the globe visiting pornographic video streaming sites every day. Within that industry, sophisticated technology companies employ hundreds of technical staff to design and develop interfaces, algorithms, data-mining and analytics software, video-streaming software, and database management systems. These designers are responsible for making strategic choices about information management and the graphical organization of content, which translates into large profits and the regulation of our sexual desire.

On Wednesday, February 7 at 7PM, University of Toronto researcher Patrick Keilty will present his study of the subject in a talk titled Pornography’s Graphical Interface at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The talk is free and open to the public.

Keilty studies the impact that design and information systems in the pornography industry have on desire and sexuality. His talk will focus on one aspect of this strategy—the design of immersive viewing experiences that are aimed at increasing the retention of attention and “time on site”—while addressing questions such as: How does the pornography industry design for desire? How does this differ from similar practices in other industries? What can our understanding of desire add to our understanding of how these systems operate?

Patrick Keilty is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, with affiliate faculty positions in the Technoscience Research Unity, Cinema Studies Institute, Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, and the Women and Gender Studies Institute. Keilty’s work examines the political and economic implications of digital infrastructures in the pornography industry. He has published on topics ranging from data science and the history of information retrieval to transformations of gendered labor and the philosophy of temporality. Keilty is the co-editor of the Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader.

For more information, please visit

The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is where the arts, sciences, and technology interact with and influence each other by using the same facilities and technologies, and by breathing the same air. EMPAC hosts artists and researchers to produce and present new work in a building designed with sophisticated architectural and technical infrastructure. Four exceptional venues and studios enable audiences, artists, and researchers to inquire, experiment, develop, and experience the ever-changing relationship between ourselves, technology, and the worlds we create around us. EMPAC is an icon of the New Polytechnic, a new paradigm for cross-disciplinary research and learning at Rensselaer, the nation’s oldest technological research university.

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