Despite the impressive amount of financial resources recently invested in carrying out large-scale brain simulations, it is controversial what the pay-offs are of pursuing this project. One idea is that from designing, building, and running a large-scale neural simulation, scientists acquire knowledge about the computational performance of the simulating system, rather than about the neurobiological system represented in the simulation. It has been claimed that this knowledge may usher in a new era of neuromorphic, cognitive computing systems. This study elucidates this claim and argues that the main challenge this era is facing is not the lack of biological realism. The challenge lies in identifying general neurocomputational principles for the design of artificial systems, which could display the robust flexibility characteristic of biological intelligence.