You are absolutely correct about ETTR! Instead of introducing this *new* acronym, the writers could have made it a lot simpler by referencing "exposing to retain highlight details on slides". The experienced slide shooters would have no problem understanding it. But that is just too boring for some.
As far as auto everything is concerned, many media and sports pros do rely upon them. Manually exposing and focusing can mean losing a shot.
There are a couple of key differences between film and digital exposure. With digital, the preview and histogram can provide immediate feedback. But of course those who can nail their exposures perfectly every shot would find these useless.
The noise at different digital ISOs vary between different camera sensors. For a particular film type and ISO, the grain, etc. remains the same regardless of which camera is used. Not so in digital.
With digital raw (and HDR), it is now possible to extend the dynamic range with a single shot (or multiple shots with different exposures). This is something very difficult or nearly impossible to achieve in a traditional darkroom.
I sounds like a digital camera determines exposure the same way. It just uses a new exposure meter with a histogram and an instant picture to look at.
Digial noise is a lot like film grain. Fast film, more grain (or noise).
Yes, with digital. it is "possible to extend the dynamic range with a single shot (or multiple shots with different exposures)." I say that is not exposure but processing. It is possible to extend the dynamic range with film with preflashing. Not really exposure either.
If I had a new camera with new technology and all, I wouldn't want to say it really worked just like an old fashioned film camera. And that is a lot easier to say with a straight face if you have no idea how an old fashioned film camera works.
When Adams "invented" the Zone System, he was really just applying an old methodolgy developed (no pun intended) by others. Variable processing is not Adams'.
And again, I have nothing against autofocus or autoexposure. But I suspect those "media and sports pros" really understand how their camera works and what it is doing for them.