From a write-up about a "sci-fi"-themed panel at CES which featured author Neal Stephenson:
According to Dave Howe (the panel moderator from SciFi), Stephenson inspired Kindle in his book The Diamond Age. No royalties though, Stephenson jokes. Apparently, pages from The Diamond Age are being used in the Kindle’s instruction materials.
I wish my Kindle had a human remotely acting through it.
Update: Jim Treacher reminds us that there are humans acting remotely in the Kindle using the Now Now program. Awesome.