Robin Hanson has made several recent posts on Overcoming Bias about upload economics. I remain mystified why he doesn't link to or otherwise reference or comment on Carl Shulman's 2010 paper, Whole Brain Emulation and the Evolution of Superorganisms, which mentions many of the same ideas and seems to have taken them to their logical conclusions. I was going to complain again in the comments section over there, but then I noticed that the paper hasn't been posted or discussed here either. So here's the abstract. (See above link for the full paper.)
Many scientists expect the eventual development of intelligent software programs capable of closely emulating human brains, to the point of substituting for human labor in almost every economic niche. As software, such emulations could be cheaply copied, with copies subsequently diverging and interacting with their copy-relatives. This paper examines a set of evolutionary pressures on interaction between related emulations, pressures favoring the emergence of superorganisms, groups of emulations ready to self-sacrifice in service of the superorganism. We argue that the increased capacities and internal coordination of such superorganisms could pose increased risks of overriding human values, but also could facilitate the solution of global coordination problems.