I dunno. I think it could be a valid study. We have no idea what the long term implications are with neural nets, AI, machines building machines, etc. Every time we stagger blindly into the future the results are generally disastrous so a little foresight might not be so bad. And who knows what ancillary benefits may come from it? And they're a private research center so it's not like its costing the taxpayers a dime.
"We choose the right to be who we are. We know the difference between the reality of freedom and the illusion of freedom."