We need to evaluate what we are trying to automate in the first place. Using the id of the element is one of the best ways to locate an element in Selenium. If we use the test to validate whether a button is present, clickable or takes us to the correct page on clicking; it could be a valuable test. Especially, if it has to be repeated a number of times during our testing. In terms of using it for checking the position of a button on a page, would be a BAD IDEA as it is going to result in flaky tests due to constant changes in element position.
This is where we testers need to come in and do some exploratory testing to ensure the GUI elements are in the right location and whether it makes business sense to have it there. Meanwhile our automated tests can be running on the side doing its own thing.
I view automation as complementary to the overall testing effort. It is a tool/aid to help out in testing. In my experience, I have used automation when there are number of mundane tasks/scenario that have to be repeatedly tested. So I write automated scripts to test these repeatable tasks while I concentrate my efforts on exploring other critical aspects of the application manually. I am a big proponent of Session Based Exploratory Testing.
Also, another reason why we may get a feeling that we are focusing more on automation is because in the recent years, CI/CD Integration, DevOps and other approaches/practices have become popular which needs automation to begin right from the start of the SDLC. They are trying to align with the "Shift Left paradigm". Sometimes during these efforts people forget why they are doing automation and what they need to test in the first place.
In summary, I think automation is a tool to help in the overall testing effort. We need to weigh the cost vs value of doing automation and also understand what we are trying to automate. Automation definitely has a place in testing when used wisely and when constantly reminding ourselves why we are automating something compared to just manually testing it.