Re: Just my experience
«I have to wonder what your opinion is of the fly-by-wire systems»
I do not have any current or past rating on any fly by wire aircraft so I cannot speak from first hand experience. With that big caveat, it is not quite true that those systems will "deny" control to the pilot. Worst case all triple redundant systems will malfunction and you're left with some throttle and rudder control (on the FBW types I know, again not from first hand experience, the rudder is mechanically linked to the pedals), which in theory should be enough to maintain sufficient control that you can stand a good chance of landing the thing. Then again, you would have stayed in bed if you suspected that your day was going to go so wrong, so anything is a bonus.
The Habsheim demonstration flight that you seem to refer to ended up in a smoking hole precisely because some of the FBW technology had been disabled to make for a more spectacular low pass. It was caused by a multiplicity of factors, all of them with a human component, not by any fundamental flaw in the technology being used, regardless of what headlines the press might have wanted to have.
Those colleagues of mine who fly Airbuses are generally very happy with the beasts. They do say that it is a very different approach to flying a "normal" aircraft though, so it takes some getting used to.
With that said, FBW and automation are two completely different things. Modern cockpits have an awful lot of automation and technologies intended to ease the workload and improve the situational awareness of the pilots (and others involved in the flight, notably ATC, other traffic, and often your own company). This is regardless of the control design philosophy.
Again, there are thousands and thousands of man-hours put on by some *very* clever people behind all this technology, so hand-wave comments trying to rubbish it just look silly, with all respect. Things can and are improved, incrementally, all the time, but not because the base is not solid--it's in part because, amongst other considerations, you need to build on previous experience.
To get back to the subject, the same applies to cars. I happen to drive a car from a certain big German manufacturer that has pretty much every safety option I could find, and generally I am very impressed with the design and how unobtrusive it all is. Here I can talk from my own experience (unlike all the "I'll never drive a car that tells me what to do" brigade one finds in these forums, who clearly have never actually used any of this), and it really does make the driving safer, more relaxed, and less tiring.