Hi! I'm a junior at Brown University studying physics and math.
Yea, WBE risk seems relatively neglected, maybe because of the really high expectations for AI research in this community. The only article I know talking about it is this paper by Anders Sandberg from FHI. He makes the interesting point that similar incentives that allow animal testing in today's world could easily lead to WBE suffering. In terms of preventing suffering his main takeaway is:
Principle of assuming the most (PAM): Assume that any emulated system could have the same mental properties as the original system and treat it correspondingly.
The other best practices he mentions, like perfectly blocking pain receptors, would be helpful but only become a real solution with a better theory of suffering.