He was joking, but what we are saying is the whole reason we are intelligent is because of the way our brains are wired.
The connectome. The way the neurons are arranged and our 5 senses allow us to be conscious. It is not because are neurons are made of cells. A simulation of this connectome (100% accuracy) is not possible because it takes more computational power than we can muster right now. Eventually it will be, and when we simulate a brain, it will be like an infant. It will need a body to inhabit, so we'll give it one. As a 1st gen robot it won't be as good as our physical ones, but it may be enough for it to grow up into a fully conscious "human" being.
It may even be easier to just let the simulation live in a virtual reality world as it grows up. Either way, it will need real parents and social interaction to learn. I don't think consciousness can be programmed, it has to learn social skills and other primary skills we attribute to intelligence on it's own. Reading a book is ok, you can learn things that way. You weren't programming it into them, it choose to read it and absorb the information.
I'm not saying a cgi leaf is just as much a leaf as one on a real tree, I am saying a 100% accurate rendering of a connectome and its interactions within itself and with the outside world through senses. Which will be possible one day, we are already simulating sections of the brain.