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The Adventure: a new Utopia story

So I'd see this world as maintaining the possibility for surprise and objections. They could have informed Grant of how they would drop info into him. Instead, they expected it to come up at some point (which it did), and, depending on his reaction at the time (which could vary with the manner it was brought up), they would change their interaction with him. This also gives people the possibility of manipulating the interaction with him, as the lady talking with him did. People still have choices, and those choices have consequences and are not all pre-ordained.

That works fine though my problem with it is that it makes that whole interaction weird since there's no reasonable way the person bringing up that information could have known that. It does kind of make things slightly weird in retrospect.
I also have some degree of issue with the whole idea of people still having "choice" in any meaningful way in the world of the powers. I mean it kind of reminds me of the entity in newcomb's problem, if humans are utterly predictable to them, than any appearance of a choice that wasn't made for you by the AI seems impossible, with the possible exception of sufficiently strong precommitments made presingularity. When you understand perfectly how every action will affect a human's causal mental process, then there's no choosing to not interfere, you are forced to choose exactly which final outcome you want. Still I could easily see this being the case in your scenario but i'm not sure it is.

As for oppressive cultures, making their lives expensive isn't likely to do much good, starving them out wouldn't be a good idea for really obvious reasons(PR mainly), and denying them luxuries is going to be of limited use as well. I mean when they probably view the powers as demons using subtle methods to convince them to join you is going to be pretty ineffective it would seem.
Also again while these cultures would normally change over time, the fact that the outside world is totally evil as far as their concerned is going to make them extremely insular and may make them more extreme. As for the uploads making them jealous that's kind of laughable given they probably view them as demons or puppets of the devil anyway.
Any kind of negotiations with a culture that views you as literally the devil is probably doomed to failure. Also keep in mind even if you can get some people out of the communities, the rest of the community will only get worse via evaporative cooling: Also keep in mind they will have a pretty high birthrate in all likelihood so they can replace some losses.

The Adventure: a new Utopia story

That is the default, because most people are OK with that :-)

See that makes it kind of a weird thing for that character to have brought up then. After all why bring something up if it only applies to people who wouldn't care by definition.

Also you don't really explain how religious fanaticism is going to effectively be suppressed via economics. Like how you still haven't really given any plausible way for that to happen, like what are you going to try to starve them to death if they don't deconvert?, that wouldn't work for a number of reasons. Also I'm not just talking about a small number of cultists. Barring unprecedented cultural changes between now and 2064 there will still be millions if not billions of people interested in maintaining oppressive religious cultures by the time the singularity rolls around. As for them dwindling out that seems unlikely given 1. their high birth rates and 2. the fact that since the outside world is so alien it will be easy to demonize. Plus they will likely become more extreme because many people will perceive this as the end times, and the prior mentioned isolation such an alien external world would cause. Not to mention they would see how religious communities that had contact with the outside invariably fell to sin, thus making the need for isolation even more important as far as they're concerned.

The Adventure: a new Utopia story

See we know the powers didn't just drop knowledge into Grant's mind because he'd be okay with it. The whole reason he found out about it was because someone else was bringing up the fact that the powers are doing this to presumably everybody by default. I just wouldn't make sense for them to bring it up unless it was default.

Also the powers clearly seem to care about human autonomy, otherwise they would just use super persuasion to get everybody to agree to live the best possible human life.
Plus how exactly is economics in a post scarcity world going to stop religious fanaticism?

The Adventure: a new Utopia story

Hmm, there are two problems (though as a whole it's the best utopia I've ever seen conceived) I have with this utopia.

  • Firstly the default is for the powers to just insert the truth into your mind with consent or even letting you know, which I imagine many people like myself would find pretty terrifying, even if it's done in a way that we ourselves might have willingly chosen to get implemented. In fact I imagine most non-transhumanists would have pretty strong preferences against self modification and having their minds tampered with.

  • Secondly is the fact that I really doubt the portrayed efficacy of many of the safeguards against humans making things shitty. For instance I really doubt many hardcore social conservatives would want to even get uploaded in the first place and given their insular nature, external social pressure wouldn't do much to get them to change, if anything it would feed their persecution complex.
    A lot of the safeguards against what you call the culture trap, kind of seem like they would only work on people who were already somewhat socially progressive.

I just don't actually think there's any solution that preserves human autonomy that will eliminate oppressive insular cultures. Plus the more alien the outside world becomes, the easier it will be for it to be demonized. Even if you're forcefully inserting the truth into their minds they will just end up saying that's the voice of the devil or something in order to get people to not listen to it, the only solution is to just forcefully change their beliefs but that would totally mean dropping the idea of human autonomy.