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"If we're going to be consistent and advocate freedom of speech we have to advocate freedom of encrypted speech too. The genie is out of the bottle, cryptologically."
- Neal Stephenson

Maas-Neotek Biochip  
  An integrated circuit chip (or equivalent) that provides hardware and firmware for creating a virtual entity.  

The idea that Gibson is trying to get across is the idea of a piece of special hardware/firmware that is designed for a specific purpose; creating a virtual person (in appearance as well as actions).

The ghost woke to Komiko's touch as they began their descent into Heathrow. The 51st generation of Mass-Neotek biochips conjured up an indistinct figure on the seat beside her, a boy out of some faded hunting print, legs crossed casually in tan breeches and riding boots. "Hullo," the ghost said. Komiko blinked, opened her hand. The boy flickered and was gone. She looked down at the smooth little unit in her palm and slowly closed her fingers...
From Mona Lisa Overdrive, by William Gibson.
Published by Bantam in 1988
Additional resources -

Today, the word "biochip" is used specifically to denote a testing apparatus, a collection of very small test sites arranged on a solid substrate. A modern biochip's surface area is about one square centimeter. A biochip can perform thousands of biological reactions, such as decoding genes, in a few seconds.

The word "biochip" is also in common usage meaning a chip that is implanted in living flesh; a typical science fiction example is the implanted credit card, from The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Mona Lisa Overdrive
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Mona Lisa Overdrive
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

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