Why do robots have smiley faces?

There is a reason why engineers and designers provide machines with the semblance of friendliness, but it takes more than that to establish trust between AI and humans.

A cleaning robot at an MRT station.PHOTO: SMRT

I was at Promenade MRT Station waiting to travel to work, when my attention was drawn to a little boy pointing at a cleaning robot moving in my direction. It was making comforting gurgling noises, its eyes were blinking gently and soft music accompanied its movements.

"Look at its smiley face!" said the boy and we all boarded the driverless train without a worry.

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