Brilliant thought experiment, and really cool article! Thanks for posting.
Maybe the technology of artificial technology is pushing forward the respectability of consciousness studies.
If/when we do get to modelling, measuring, and quantifying consciousness, then perhaps it would be fair to monetise it, in a way that more consciousness is more highly rewarded. In other words, perhaps consciousness should be directly funded. In theory, this could be done with blockchain technology.
Would less conscious people be jealous of higher funding generated by more conscious people? And wouldn’t more conscious people be more likely to give it away to others who needed it anyway?