I probably don't need to pitch my side of the argument to y'all. You've likely said things like...
- I wish I could install more RAM.
- Dude, that guy totally overclocked his processor.
- I can only hold x things in memory.
- Core dump!
But it bothers Jon, and he takes me to task whenever I say something that betrays my underlying metaphor. I've been trying to understand why we have different emotional stances on this, and I've hit on the following. As a programmer, I think of my computer as the outlet of my creativity, the tool by which I express my craft. A user tends to think of his computer as an annoying appliance that would give him access to all this great stuff (entertainment, social contact, information, pr0n), if it would just freakin' work. You've seen how users treat their laptops: bang, pound, whack! Given how Jon and I view our brains (as valuable, precision tools), I can see why he does not want to think of his brain the way a user thinks of his computer.
Beyond that, I see Jon's side: This metaphor leads you to think of intelligence in terms of processor speed or amount of RAM, which leads you to believe you can quantitatively compare the intelligence of one human to another, and that leads to a very narrow definition of human intelligence. There is more to intelligence than number of instructions per second. To satisfy me, a metaphor for intelligence has to accommodate empathy and personality and intuition. From these spring creativity, and society, and humanity.
At least, that's what the wetware wants me to believe.