wheel - 2:48 pm on Apr 23, 2010 (gmt 0)
It's been a 10 year flash in the pan and to date nothing has entirely replaced it. It's not going away, it's only being refined.
It helps if you realize the se's don't care about links. The are looking to use citations as an indication of authority and relevance. There are other things that can be used as citations, but none of them come anywhere near the usefulness of using links as an approximation of citation.
If you can come up with a better approximation to use that measures citations, then you've got the next Google.