[O]ur society is made possible by the relatively short timescale of our lives. Extending our life spans a little is merely problematic. Extending them a lot demands a whole new paradigm. Otherwise, our future will be ugly and tedious, punctuated only by video games, dental appointments, and the occasional boorish lout.Seth Shostak, the senior astronomer at SETI, applies two primary objections to radical life extension: (1) extreme risk aversion on account of indefinite lifespans and (2) the problem of boredom and ennui.
To the first point, one could make the case that, given the current fragility and tenuousness of our mortal lives, we will be no less risk averse in a future where death is dramatically less common. Moreover, death from accidents in the future will be significantly reduced on account other developments, such as self-driving cars and suspended animation surgeries.
To his second point, Mark Walker has answered the boredom and ennui complaint better than I ever could. But suffice to say that different people are going to respond differently to superlongevity, and that boredom and ennui will soon be treated as vestigial psychological states that will be self-regulated it if not eliminated altogether.
Makes me wonder what Seth Shostak imagines advanced extraterrestrials to be like. His must be a very small ET.