Yes, we are on similar paths. However we must be careful not to confuse "cognition" with "consciousness". The first can be applied to those adaptive processes displayed by all of what we call "life" (biologically defined as autopoietic systems). It does not apply to "non-living" systems. The second is applicable to systems which appear to have an element of control over their "goal-directedness", but such teleology is not subsumed by "cognition" (Santiago Theory of...)
If you ask me, they're merely defining cognition as an entity's ability to survive; however, I see no discernible difference between living and non-living systems. In that respect, cognition is merely a number of complex interactions between individual elements performing specific tasks; in other words, the organism does not "adapt" -- instead, its individual parts react to stimuli in the environment, sparking a chain reaction amongst the whole. If the stimuli persists, the reaction persists; if the reaction persists long enough, it only makes sense that it becomes autonomous to save time and effort.
To demonstrate, let's build two computers:
First, each is given a processor. This processor merely reacts to whatever stimuli its offered -- that is, it processes. Now, one is given RAM while the other remains a simple processor. The computer with the RAM is now capable of storing information for later recall -- albeit in the short-term. This enables it to "remember" how it responds to situations by storing a copy of, say, the amino acid code sequence for a protein that allows it survive in extreme heat. This makes it more versatile and thus more capable of survival.
However, did it "know" that it was doing it? Not at all. It simply reacted to stimuli; there was no cognitive process.
Let's say each computer accumulates one hundred new processors. Both may now react to up to 100 stimuli at any given time, due to their increased ability to process information -- that is, react. However, the computer without the RAM still lacks the ability to automate itself, and therefore long-term, sustainable survival becomes less and less likely. The computer WITH the RAM, however, now has 100 potential processors to react and a small database/reference of past experiences (memory!) to tackle old threats. Think of it like a cold virus; the body struggles to fight it the first time, but once it's created the correct antibodies to eliminate the threat, it stores them for recall at any time... automatically.
I simply can't consider that "cognition." It does not perceive; it reacts, automatically and "instinctively."
However, include a hard-drive in the mix to "permanently" store information for recall later (DNA), and make this hard-drive universally available to every last individual element within an organism, and suddenly you have a very effective computer working and responding in unison without the need to wait for input -- they know what to do.
Over time, this process produces recurring themes that cells "recognize" like faces; as a greater number of stimuli are recorded into the organisms "hard drive", it is more readily and easily able to tackle sustained and new input. Therefore, adaptability is defined by an organism's collective experience, and therefore "cognition" in this sense is merely its ability to recall prior reactions to stimuli versus its natural inclination to react to new stimuli. In other words, it's a process repeated over and over until it sticks.
So... actually, I just argued your point for you. Cognition is indeed "knowing." And in this sense, you could say that a computer, or a bacterium, "knows." It "knows" how to make proteins. It "knows" how to calculate an algorithm. It is "cognitive."
Now I need to tackle consciousness... which is funny, because I'm using my conscious now. However, I've gotta say... it actually hints at Intelligent Design because let's face it -- our consciousness is actually detrimental
to our natural abilities. It acts only to provide "choice" -- the ability to choose AGAINST "nature."
In other words... consciousness is free will and the awareness of possibilities other than what is presented or offered. It is unique to man, and that fact -- to me -- is evidence of intelligent design. Yes, it largely developed through a natural process, but in actuality, a conscience is both a glaring flaw and beautiful gift; nature does not develop such dualities nor contradictions.
But, this is me just exploring territory. I'm glad you brought this stuff up, it's interesting.