Machine learning is a form of AI that means code behaviour (and often the code itself) is constantly morphing in order to be more effective in the eyes of the developers and, ultimately the eyes of the code itself. This is a different SEO prospect to those we have been considering up until now simply because the endpoint is no longer static, the code is deciding upon its own endpoint and then performing a re-evaluation based on the recent morphing of its own code.
The endpoint then, is something that is changing constantly, or is it? Well we can assume that if the code begins to morph in a way that makes the results unusable then the developers will intervene and change parameters concerning how the code is affected. The one safe assumption is that the code will become more and more effective in the eyes of the search engine management. So what is their endgame? Well that's easy, their endgame is to make us as satisfied as possible with the SERP as a web user rather than as an SEO professional and that means that we should increasingly treat the search engines as we would any other member of the worldwide web community. In other words, we seem to be approaching the death of SEO.
Well I can't help but feel a little relieved at this, that we can just go back to marketing with sex, shock and occasionally quality content. The search engines will presumably reflect as generic human being as possible in order to keep us all happy. Is Google is now capable of being a Radio 3 listener when scraping the Radio 3 website and a Daily Mail reader when scraping the tabloids? Will we be able to tell the difference anyhow? The fact remains that you are targeting your audience, and that this is where you should continue to concentrate your marketing effort, internet or otherwise.
Forums & trusted reviews continue to be a major influence on SERP rankings and this is an obvious target as it is where a human would go to remain informed. Twitter & Facebook are becoming increasingly superfluous as less and less humans are caring about the content there. Of course they are, almost every post is by a social networking engineer which is pretty much an internet politician and we all know how much attention people pay to them.
Perhaps the best thing to do is remain true to yourself and original and not give a toss about what anyone says in their blogs, but then part of you knew that already...