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 practitionert does.
Those updates are just guidelines in accordance to their policy rules which we've known that they only made it happen for us to be able to realize that we should also not abuse them. If your sites are having problems then basically you have broke some of it. You don't have to worry because I've already witnessed some websites that has been hit by those updates and eventually managed to surpassed all of it. I've regained their positions in SERP's (Search Engine Result Pages) although some haven't recovered due to its webmaster's factors on breaking those set of rules.
I'm telling you this because what others may have stated that "Search Engine Optimization is already 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 notice. Its evolutionary state has spread its wings from social media, content discovery, online reputation management, classified ad postings, Citations, blogging, and etc. on which I've believed that as long as there's an internet marketing, it will keep on evolving.
Always remember that everybody can say that they can be an "SEO Practitioner" or "SEO Expert" but only few of them knows the very essence to do such complicated tasks.