It is a truism of AI research that the singularity event is only 20 years away.
This is however a relatavistic measurement like the speed of light; as it always has been and always will be be 20 years away.
I tend to agree with the response above. Not that this work isn't important because I believe it is. I just doubt that the knowledge to verify that cognition et al occurs is as difficult, if not more difficult, than the premis. Unless one believes in "I'll know it when I see it". Artificial Intelligence is an oxymoron so I have to state that this accomplishment might well be up there with Dark Matter, Newton's ether, and Einsteins constant.
"Real cats are essentially worthless"? Tell me that when you next have a mouse or rat infestation. Humans are essentially pointless, too. Evolution isn't about purpose, it's about Life. Our best effort machines and processes can hardly manage what an ant does in real time, at millions of times the power consumption, and come nowhere near the capabilities of a sparrow.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.