Test Automation :: the Hype and the Illusion

When someone asks me what do I do? I say I am a software tester and the next question they put forward is Manual or Automation? When I say manual, they most times look down at me and start advocating to learn test automation. The actual reason being, test automation has been hyped so much that it is something akin to Artificial Intelligence or like a Virtual Tester and testers who don’t have the habit of questioning the logic are made to believe so. Here is a blog Purpose (Dis)Solved by Dhanasekar, where he makes an analogy between locks and testing and how test automation is hyped to attract clients.
At Moolya, while I got to know more about testing, I had a small confusion. What is check automation? Moolya’s approach to testing is context driven, exploratory, mission focused,  risk based, check automation and a few more heuristic based approaches. I know what these terms mean but never heard the term ‘check automation’ before. Approached Ms.Parimala, Master Shifu at Moolya, to clarify what is check automation? She referred me this blog on Testing vs. Checking by Michael Bolton, to explore. That perfectly answered my question. 
Testing is a sapient process and best results can be achieved only when it is done by humans. All that is automated are not tests but mere checks.
Here is also an excerpt from Jonathan Kohl’s interview to DZone and his thought that test automation shouldn’t be a goal; test automation helps you achieve goals.
“Think of all the things people can do well that machines can’t do well. Machines can’t feel, they can’t have a hunch, they can’t be suspicious, they can’t investigate, and they can’t change their minds due to better information. I don’t see automated testing throwing manual testing aside.”
To all those who believe test automation is a sure way to do better testing, and still have an illusion that automation is a superior class, which always improves productivity, please watch this video, which also explains why automation is not a sapient work.

Happy Testing!