Here's an article about traffic lights with minds of their own. The idea is to have traffic lights that "talk" to nearby traffic lights and to monitor current conditions so they can do what is best to keep traffic moving. Currently, there are traffic lights that take into account the traffic needs at that one intersection, but that isn't as good as having traffic lights that can also take into account the traffic that will be coming from nearby intersections.
This is supposed to cut down on lights that go through preprogrammed cycles, which leave you sitting at a red light when there is no cross-traffic. And it is supposed to be better than lights that are timed down a particular street (e.g., Veteran's Parkway), because that timing doesn't take into account fluctuations in traffic or accidents that may cause back-ups.
I like the traffic lights that change when they "sense" the presence of my vehicle at (or approaching) the intersection. The "dumb" lights, on the other hand, need some education. Or they need to talk to the smart lights and learn how to respond to changes in traffic.