Insane on the Mainframe
I am not sure if this story represents a case of computer science helping to advance neuroscience or of neuroscience helping to advance computer science. Either way (or both) it sounds like a nifty, if long term project. What gets simulated may not be very human though I would propose that human intelligence is not the greatest final blue-print and that using the neo-cortex as a jumping off point rather than an end in itself might be the way to go. What will really be interesting is when neo-cortical inspired artificial intelligences are paired with other forms of AI that are nearly as powerful but are currently limited because there needs to be a human intelligence to set the problem up for it. Genetic algorithms/evolutionary design systems and the creativity machine that Stephen Thaler is working on are a couple of examples of tools which a neo-cortical AI might make use to enhance its abilities.
By the time the brain simulation project is done (ten years, roughly) the massive supercomputers needed to run the model will be small and cheap enough for at least a medium size business to own one (Google and cable companies will be able to buy whole tribes of them). Even if that kind of hardware never makes it to the desktop market for some reason, A small group of neighbors could chip in and get one to act as a monitor for security cameras, a lawyer/accountant/lobbyist for the neighborhood's interests and screen out telemarketers while being polite to the extended family of the residents (or visa-versa).
I must reiterate at this point that artificial intelligences do not need to be perfect human replacements. They do not need to fool anyone into thinking they are a human on a Turing test in order to change everything about life in the twenty first century. They only need to be intelligent problem solvers, creative thinkers and have the ability to learn. It seems to be that even without a model of the human neo-cortex, it is easier to get machines to do this than to wait for these skills to emerge spontaneously in the human population. This may be the best argument yet for working to automate human level intelligence. We need teachers and tutors who can actually learn how to teach. Children deserve better than having two or three good teachers (tops) in their public school careers.