The question of mind is probably as old as we are. Today, the analogy of choice is with computers
The fundamental difference between computers and the human mind is in the basic organization of memory, Marcus observes. While computers organize everything they store according to physical or logical locations, the human brain stores millions of memories, but has no idea where they are located - information is retrieved not by knowing where it is, but by using cues or clues that hint at what we are looking for.
One hundred years ago, the ubiquitous technology was the stream engine. What did Freud use as his model for the workings of our psyche?
The steam engine.
We think of our minds as computers because it is the ubiquitous technology of our day. They are everywhere, in everything, and we have internalized the concepts. We have direct experience with the ideas of input and output, with buffers and RAM and storage. We are comfortable with them.
But let's not get so comfortable that we forget they are nothing more than an analogy.