It’s a good idea to be able to describe what is testing (and automation). A good description is the ‘search for unknown unknowns’. You can think of automation as scaffolding. This makes automation quite different from the search for unknowns.
You can use automation for the search for unknowns (however, that is not relevant for starting the discussion).
These ideas have been proposed by the likes of ‘Lessons Learned…’ for a long time.
I think the bigger issue is that organizations aren’t aware of the problems users/customers face.