I would like to figure interpretative biases could emerge during the interpretation of the message. I don't have a psychologist background to do this properly. So I hope someone trained in this can take this message (yes, this is a message :D) like an hint to do. I think it would be important finding or enlightening potential flaws in the interpretative flow before to start the interpretation of any possible message candidate. So I start. Forgive my totally inaccurate terminology. Try to catch the message and improve.
1) The message is unintentionally biased.
The message is for sure a fake alien civilization message. It's an experiment. So there's a chance the message was unintentionally biased cause you can't imitate perfectly a different species way of thinking. It's still complex for ethologists with long studied animals like apes, cats, dogs, mouses. And here we are talking about a not-Earth species. This is potentially is a big flaw of the experiment cause, during the creation of the message, there is a good chance the creator team - despite all eventual efforts to be accurate and producing scientific plausible results - played a role-play game in its own mind like: If the unknown species was... then it was this and that... what would it know/does/reacts about.... if...
2) The message is intentionally biased I will call this the Pre-Columbian scenario. In this scenario, the author of the message is an unknown human civilization with a comparable tech on a close planet (Mars?). This scenario was stimulated by discussion in decode-visualizations channel about the chance the message can be an astronomical object seen from different points in space (and time). In this case, the message is from humans to humans. This makes the experiment more solid in my opinion cause we don't need to figure a different species, but we have still a lot of differences making this civilization an "alien" body.
3) The message is intentionally unintelligible (or very unlikely detectable) In this scenario, the creators team imagines a species with a very different physiology than humans. Here you can imagine a zillion of biological features for your alien species. But just is enough considering this species having a different range of "audible" frequencies and "visible" frequencies. This of course doesn't mean this species can't detect and represent radiations out side this range. They can do exactly like us, but they are very biased towards their own physiology as what is meaningful and what is not when they send the message (a bit like our Voyager message. A very anthropocentric message, racial and cultural biases apart). This because the unknown recipient of this message (we, humans, in this case) will be always, no matter what, a "construct of the sender mind". So in this scenario, searching a meaningful pattern for us, in visualization and sonification of the message, can be misleading by default. The meaningful pattern for us is not meaningful for alien species and vice versa. And this is ok cause the ultimate goal of the creators team here is not people decoding and interpreting the real message but what they think could be (and it's not) a message. Cause this is a real potential scenario.
4) The message is set to be unavoidably misunderstood The message is in someway detectable and in someway meaningful in human terms. Let suppose something about basic math and science how a lot of people like should be. A list of prime numbers, the representation of this and that molecule, a physic concept. This sounds all cool except what we think our math and science is not our math and science. Physics is the same, but not the way we represent things. It's a variant of the previous scenario. We have the real message but we are not able to understand correctly the message.
5) The message is true, is false, is true and false, is true or false Do you like the idea an alien civilization was unique and lead by high valuable motivations, goals, ethics and skills? Well... lets take a real case scenario of a civilization sending a message in the space. We, humans, with again Voyager. There was only science behind? No, but it's not important. The representation of the humankind in the Golden Record is realistic, is true? Yes, No, In part. That humanity doesn't exist and not only cause could be politically and culturally biased but because ...what we would send in the space to a potential new partner in the universe? Our not so cool daily picture or the good one with all the filters? And what, then, if we are the recipients of the message from another species? The message created by the team what kind of "alienity" is representing? The "real" one or the nice mask? It's not the idea an alien civilization wanted to be deceptive for evil reasons, but that an alien civilization able to send messages in the space can be much more a mess of what we can think. Cause we sent messages in the space for real and we are divided and plenty of contradictions and issues.
This is a wonderful explanation of what could go into a message, @Malediluna ! What I know is that the message was designed to not be biased to human culture so it feels more like something we would receive as opposed to what we might transmit. Now, are there unintentional human biases in there? Maybe.
I’ve been seeing a lot of pareidolia (seeing faces) as people try to find the message. Which of those patterns are meaningful, and which are us ascribing human features to random data? More broadly, what are some starter assumptions we should make (or not make) when trying to find meaning? If there aren’t enough assumptions to be made, how can we even know where to begin?