We’re just at the very beginning of the Age of AI. One way that it may bring some unexpected benefits? Reducing social stress for introverts.
The numbers of introverts and extroverts in the world vary widely; the popular personality test organization Myers-Briggs shows slightly more introverts than extroverts. But other research has found extroverts may be as high as 74 percent of the population — a ratio of about three to one.
Either way, one thing is clear: modernity is an extrovert’s paradise with the 24/7 connection opportunities provided by our devices and the return to outings as covid fears slow. And even though these different personality types have co-mingled since, presumably, the first humans, the ever-increasing fast pace of the live-out-loud world can be overwhelming to introverts.
But as we enter the Age of AI, could all that be changing?
“As AI reshapes our interaction landscape, introverts might find more comfort zones,” Amanda Phillips, founder and Chief Editor at The Mental Desk told Ethos via email.
She says while AI can offer comforts by automating certain tasks, including communication, the digital realm can often be as overwhelming as the physical — sometimes even more. Further complicating the situation is the fact that introversion isn’t about shunning all interactions, but about finding those that offer quality and depth — something increasingly harder to come by in the distracted modern world.
What are introverts and extroverts, exactly?
In the simplest terms, introverts and extroverts are often used to describe two opposite ends of a personality spectrum that focuses on how individuals respond to external stimuli, including social situations, with introverts less social than extroverts.
While these categories are not absolute, they offer a framework to understand general tendencies in human behavior. Personalities are indeed nuanced, and a person can exhibit traits that are both extroverted and introverted. Like Bob Dylan says, I contain multitudes. We all do.
Increasingly, some people identify as ambiverts, falling somewhere in the middle of the introversion-extroversion spectrum. They may display traits of both introverts and extroverts depending on the situation, their mood, or other contextual factors. These traits can also change over time.
Introverts typically prefer spending time alone or in small groups and find social interactions, especially with strangers or large crowds, draining. They can seek quiet environments and may enjoy activities that allow them to focus inwardly, like reading, writing, or other forms of solitary creative expression. Introverts usually recharge by spending time alone and may find too much external stimulation overwhelming. While they can be social and enjoy interactions, they often need time to themselves to recuperate afterward.
Extroverts, on the other hand, tend to thrive on social interactions and external stimuli. They usually find large social gatherings energizing and may become restless or anxious when alone for extended periods. Extroverts often seek out social activities and enjoy meeting new people. They are generally more comfortable in dynamic, fast-paced environments and may find too much alone time stifling or unproductive. Extroverts recharge their energy by being around others and engaging in social activities.
Phillips points out that for both personality types, balance is key. And it’s important to clarify that introverts don’t necessarily dislike human interactions; they can be extremely lively and uninhibited with people they’re close to. They just tend to thrive with more frequent breaks from those interactions — something AI can help to facilitate.
“Introversion isn’t about shunning interaction, but about quality and depth,” Phillips says. “AI can offer convenience, but the richness of human connection remains irreplaceable. Let’s not mistake solitude for thriving; they’re not synonymous.”
AI for an introverted world
For the uninitiated, AI is not sentient, nor is it sinister. It does help to facilitate a range of tasks that look to modernize our work flows and even our personal lives. The potential can range from email automation to sales outreach to chatbots that help with customer service, medical screenings, data analysis — it’s becoming an endless list, really.
Within that, AI can help make human interactions smoother by providing scripts or talking points, say for an interview. And even where it doesn’t offer a human buffer, it can free up time dedicated to other tasks that some introverts can find overwhelming.
AI has already revolutionized a number of industries including the gaming industry, online education, and, even content production.
Even artists are finding respite in AI as a mentor and collaborator; AI has assisted introverted creators in refining their crafts, offering insights and suggestions that propel them toward achieving new heights in their respective fields.
Telemedicine, which is now also being fortified by artificial intelligence, has emerged as a beacon of hope for those seeking healthcare guidance without stepping out of their comfort zones. Introverts can now access expert medical advice from the sanctuary of their homes, thus alleviating the social anxiety that often accompanies hospital or doctor visits. Furthermore, AI facilitates mental health support through empathic chatbots, offering a comforting presence and guidance in times of emotional turmoil.
The sphere of interpersonal relationships has also witnessed a transformative change, with AI-driven dating apps easing the pathway to finding compatible partners. Introverts can venture into the dating world with an arsenal of information and insights, enabling them to navigate social complexities with greater ease and confidence.
“AI, with its non-judgmental interaction and 24/7 availability, can indeed be a sanctuary for introverts, providing a comfortable space for expression,” Phillips says. “However, it’s crucial to remember that AI is not a substitute for human connection. It’s a tool, not a panacea. Over-reliance on AI could risk deepening introversion, potentially leading to social isolation.”
Phillips suspects that as AI creeps into more corners of our lives, its impact on introverts and extroverts will be as diverse as the individuals themselves. “Introverts may appreciate AI’s predictable, controlled interactions, while extroverts might leverage AI to expand their social networks,” she says. “However, AI could also risk creating echo chambers, limiting personal growth. It’s essential to remember that AI is a tool, not a personality tailor. It should enhance, not dictate, our social experiences.”
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