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Jeff Bezos at Wired's 25th anniversary conference in San Francisco. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED25

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said Monday he plans to spend "a little more" than $1 billion on his space exploration company, Blue Origin, next year — a slight increase over the current $1 billion a year.

Why it matters: Bezos, along with other billionaires like Elon Musk, has been criticized for focusing his resources on moonshot projects like space travel instead of immediate problems on Earth (he did recently announce a $2 billion investment in early education and homelessness). Bezos made his announcement at Wired's 25th anniversary conference in San Francisco.

I will not spend one minute of my life on anything I don’t think is contributing to society and civilization...You want risk taking. You want people to have a vision most people don’t agree with.
— Jeff Bezos

On the recent backlash against tech companies working with the military: "If big tech companies are going to turn their backs on the Department of Defense, we are in big trouble.... This is a great country and it does need to be defended."

On concerns for technologies' misuse: "Technology is always two-sided... this isn't new. The book was invented and people could write really evil books and lead bad revolutions with them and fascist empires with books... It doesn't mean the book is bad."

On social media: "I think social media is increasing, unfortunately, identity politics and tribalism. I think the internet in its current iteration is a confirmation bias machine... So we don't know the solutions to these problems yet but we'll figure them out yet.

  • "I worry that some of these technologies will be very useful for autocratic regimes to enforce their rules ... But that's not new, that's always been the case ... The last thing we want to do is stop these technologies even if they're dual-use."

On growing calls for large tech companies (like Amazon) to be heavily scrutinized: "I think all large institutions should be scrutinized ... it's normal ... We want large companies but we want to scrutinize them. And I preach inside Amazon that this is going to happen, don't take it personally."

Go deeper

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

3 killed, 2 wounded overnight in Kenosha bar shooting

Three people died and two others were hospitalized with serious injuries after a gunman entered bar in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, the police department said in a statement on Sunday.

The latest: Officers arrested a "person of interest" Sunday afternoon in connection with the 12:42 a.m. shooting and there's "no threat to the community at this time," per a later police statement.

Updated 58 mins ago - Sports

Big European soccer teams announce breakaway league

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) after striking the ball during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Liverpool F.C. and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, England, last Wednesday. Photo: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

12 of world soccer's biggest and richest clubs announced Sunday they've formed a breakaway European "Super League" — with clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona Real Madrid, Juventus and A.C. Milan among those to sign up.

Why it matters: The prime ministers of the U.K. and Italy are among those to express concern at the move — which marks a massive overhaul of the sport's structure and finances, and it effectively ends the decades-old UEFA Champions League's run as the top tournament for European soccer.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats settling on 25% corporate tax rate

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.