And the concept is much older than that. The 2011 Felicifia post "A few dystopic future scenarios" by Brian Tomasik outlined many of the same considerations that FRI works on today (suffering simulations, etc.), and of course Brian has been blogging about risks of astronomical suffering since then. FRI itself was founded in 2013.
Iain Banks' Surface Detail published in 2010 featured a war over the existence of virtual hells (simulations constructed explicitly to punish the ems of sinners).