Prashant Sridharan, senior product manager for enterprise tools in the developer division at Microsoft, put it this way: "I don't think automation is a threat to jobs. I think that would be a very far-reaching statement. When we added a WinForms designer, it didn't actually kill people's jobs. It made their skills go a little bit higher up the ladder. Whenever you add tools, you also add the need for people to use how to use those tools. "
I'll be interested to see whether innovation trumps labor arbitrage. I'm not entirely convinced.
For more about the role of automation in programming please see InformationWeek's Dec. 6 issue.