Searle is a really important person in A.I because of his wonderful philosophical perspective on things. The “chinese room” was a good point to make about the Turing test. He did a lot of work in language as well, like his speech acts research.
Anyway…here’s the quote:
“Because we do not understand the brain very well we are constantly tempted to use the latest technology as a model for trying to understand it. In my childhood we were always assured that the brain was a telephone switchboard. (‘What else could it be?’) I was amused to see that Sherrington, the great British neuroscientist, thought that the brain worked like a telegraph system. Freud often compared the brain to hydraulic and electro-magnetic systems. Leibniz compared it to a mill, and I am told some of the ancient Greeks thought the brain functions like a catapult. At present, obviously, the metaphor is the digital computer.” — John R Searle