Even though Google's updates are out there, we shouldn't be afraid of it because first of all, they already recognized SEO White Hat strategies and that they are very much in favour of it which gave leeway's to continue what an SEO practitioner must do.
Those updates are just guides in accordance to their rules which I know they only made it happen for us to be able to realize that we shouldn't abuse them. If your site having problems then basically you have broke some of their rules. You don't have to worry because I've already witnessed some websites that was hit by those updates but eventually managed to surpassed it and regain their positions in SERP's (Search Engine Result Pages) although some haven't recovered due to its webmaster's factor on not to abide the rules.
I'm telling you this because what others said that SEO is Dead is basically not what they think of. SEO is out there and it keeps on evolving every day. They haven't seen it at all because it's actually too advance for them to see. Its evolution has spread its wings from social media, content discovery, online reputations, classified ad posting, blogging, etc.. which I believed that as long as there's an internet, it will keep on evolving.
Always remember that everybody can say that they can be an SEO Practitioner but only few of them knows the very essence to do so.