encourages a gradient-ascent approach to problem solving
Not really sure what that means. I left school when I was 12 so the math just goes over my head From what you said after, it sounds like an inefficient path of thoughtless trial and error.
Remember though, there's sometimes more than one destination. Maybe you don't even know until you get there?
There is an abundance of software problems that just don't give at all to this way of thinking,
Like what? The examples in the video were just various cases of showing how instant feedback helps. The various flowers or details don't matter as much as the root or principle.
Just cause we can't get instant feedback with the, let's face it, shitty tools around today, doesn't mean it wouldn't be a good thing.
there are different, better approaches that solve real programmers' problems
Not sure it was touted as the be all/ end all or even something
editor specific. At least that's not what I took away.
Anyway, I can't think of any circumstance when developing software having immediate feedback and insight into its workings would hinder rather than help. If you think it'd lead only to laziness I strongly disagree with you. At worst yes, you sit down on those shoulders and get taken for a ride. But at best, you stand up, and concentrate hard on keeping your elevation for the perspective it affords. One of the guys points was that the instant feedack and insight allows you to more quickly build accurate mental models. A mind once elevated...
Besides, when I'm dead tired, or really want to be doing something else, that easy ride would be most welcome! If our mental models are so great why is software so buggy? Why do we write tests?