Sexy Data

Sexy Data is a project led by TRU member Patrick Keilty and generously supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Through visual analysis, interviews with software programmers, interface designers, and data scientists, analysis of technical literatures, and theories of race, gender, desire, and technology, this study examines the strategic choices made by technical staff within the vast and lucrative online pornography industry. Globally, online pornography is part of a $97 billion (USD) industry, and more than a hundred million people visit pornographic video streaming sites every day. Online pornography websites may seem like amateurish distribution services. Instead, they are sophisticated technology companies that control content production and employ hundreds of technical staff to design and develop interfaces, algorithms, data mining software, data analytics software, and database management systems. These designers are responsible for making strategic choices about information management and the graphical organization of content that translates into large profits, innovative capitalist media techniques, and dominant modes for curating, distributing, and regulating our experience of sexuality today.