Re: Self drive
You just yourself said that the 787 doesn't have a direct link between the peddles and the flight control surface. That means that when you press something, or use a pedal, or use any of the flight controls, those actions are being translated into the movements that the plane actually performs - via computer. It isn't a little bloke in there going "oh, he wants to go right, lets move the rudder" and then pumping hydraulic fuel into the system... Its a computer. It might be many different individual computers, with redundancies, but they're still computers.
If the wires that fly your plane break - meaning the systems that run those hydraulics are not working, that means YOU as a pilot are not legally responsible. There is absolutely nothing you can do. You can't go climbing on the wing to jump on the ailerons. Imagine it this way - you're flying along happily and your wings fall off. Is that the pilot's fault? No!
You can do your damned best to control the plane, of course, but if the plane crashes and it all ends up in court, the fault won't be "the pilot didn't do the impossible! He didn't fly the unflyable plane!". The blame will be placed, legally, on the engineers (ie. the company) or the manufacturer.
I did not mention "autopilot" at all.