I read this story a few years ago in an anthology, but I'm sure it was written in the 70s or 80s. It was only a few pages long and explored a number of scenarios that could occur if aliens were to discover one of our probes.
I'm certain there were more, but these are the scenarios I remember:
- The probe is discovered by a race of sentient machines who embark on an epic journey to free what they see as enslaved machines from their organic oppressors
- The probe is discovered by a being far more evolved than our species. After thousands or millions of years of studying the probe, the alien determines it to be a message of love. However, its reply is rendered meaningless by the amount of time that has passed.
- The probe is rediscovered by humanity in the far future
I've been searching for this story for a couple of days, but to no avail.