When Will SEO Become Obsolete?

Recently I’ve seen some predictions that with the direction search engines are taking, search engine optimzation is going to become obsolete in 5 or more years.

That’s not too risky of a prediction, since 5 years is literally the half-life of the entire search engine optimization industry. Five years is a lifetime in internet time.

Do I think SEO will die a slow death? I think a slowdown in the impact of current SEO methods is a more accurate assessment. That’s not much of a prediction either, is it? The rules for effective SEO change more often than the rules for just about any other industry I know.