Press "3" for a smooth mesh preview before rendering, or smooth it in Maya with Mesh -> Smooth.
But another very good way is to set the subdivision in the shape node of your objects you want to smooth. So you have everything lowpoly in the viewport and smoothed when its rendering in Arnold.
Go to the Arnold attributes in the shape node, down to Subdivision, and set the type to catclark and set your iterations (e.g. 2). When you hit render now, the lowres should be smooth in the final render.
I have the same problem and increasing the polycount by smoothing does not work and is not a good solution either way as there may be a limit on the polygons, say for example, a student doing a student project. I have had to go back to a previous saved scene and start again with exact same rig and material minus hard edges on specular/roughness. It's definitely not normal map issue as I broke connection and tested each individually. There is no answer online for this. It's most likely another bug.
It looks to me like Arnold is accurately rendering a low poly model. Using Arnold render time subdivision is not an issue, and is a standard part of the workflow (poly limitations or not).
You may also be looking for the Round Corners shader, which adds a "virtual" bevel/chamfer on sharp corners. It is described here: https://docs.arnoldrenderer.com/display/A5AFMUG/Round+Corners
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