Either: syntax is understood as a purely formal property
In which case: the analogy fails because electromagnetism has causal properties and formal syntax does not.
Or: syntax is understood in terms of the physics of its implementing medium (e.g. the computer on which the program is run),
In which case: the analogy holds but is irrelevant to AI, because AI researchers are interested in the formal properties of programs rather than in the causal properties of silicon circuits.
In either case: the analogy lacks force against the Chinese Room argument.
John Searle, 1990b.